To rapidly increase its capacity and effectively manage the anticipated wave of coronavirus cases in the capital city of India, the Delhi government has started converting the Radha Soami Spiritual Centre in South Delhi into the world’s largest temporary COVID-19 care facility with 10,000 beds.
As many as 50 patients can be treated in one hall with all technical aspects being taken into consideration. The project is expected to be complete by June 30.
The Chhatarpur center has a covered area of 12,50,000 square feet, as large as 22 football fields, with preinstalled fans and CCTV cameras where almost 3 lakh people would attend sermons before the pandemic. This makes it the ideal choice to be quickly converted into a temporary COVID care facility.
There will also be a provision of accommodation for doctors on one side of the facility. The South Delhi district magistrate estimated that at least 400 doctors will be working here in two shifts, backed by double the number of paramedics. The facility was being used to shelter migrant workers until recently. Its community kitchens are semi-industrial and can feed thousands of people at a time.
Officials associated with the Satsang Vyas said, “The complex will be fully ready by June 30 for the treatment of the patients. It is being constructed with tents. It will have adequate lighting and fans. Coolers will also be installed in each hall.”
South Delhi district magistrate BM Mishra, who is overseeing the work, said: “Each 500-bed hospital will have 5-10 enclosures of 50-100 beds. Ten percent of the beds will have an oxygen supply. However, it will not have ventilators. We have made arrangements for referral with super-specialty hospitals for critical patients,” Mr. Mishra said, adding that the Chhatarpur facility will have ambulances and its own pathology laboratory for testing.
On Sunday, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal visited the Radha Soami Satsang center and was apprised with the technical information about the facilities.
To ensure that the facility is well-managed, he said they were trying to implement the best e-managements systems used in hospitals. “We’re trying to install computers so everything is smooth and seamless. We are also trying to ascertain manpower needs and are getting a lot of help from the military, paramilitary, and philanthropists for this mammoth task.”
“The military and paramilitary will help with operations, maintenance, logistics, medical equipment and manpower – sanitation workers, pathologists, technicians, pharmacists,” he added.
One of the most interesting features of this facility would be its corrugated cardboard beds, which need not be sanitized but can be, and are recyclable.
“These beds need not be sanitized as the virus does not remain stable on cardboard for more than 24 hours; on metal, plastic, and wood the virus can stay for up to five days. These beds are also really light, easy to assemble, and dismantle. Supplying these beds for the facility is a matter of pride for us,” said Vikram Dhavan, director of Dhavan Box Sheet Containers Pvt Ltd, which is making and supplying the beds.
The arrangements come in the backdrop of the sudden spurt in the Covid-19 cases in the national capital. Delhi has a total of 44,688 cases and 1,837 people have succumbed to the disease. According to the Delhi government’s estimates, coronavirus cases in the national capital are likely to breach the 5 lakh-mark by July end. Around one lakh beds will be needed for COVID-19 patients.