Covid-19: Apollo Hospitals plans to set up 5,000 isolation rooms

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on March 26, 2020

Prathap C. ReddyChairman, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited   -  Nagara Gopal@thehindu

L aunches ‘Project Kavach’ to cover all aspects of fighting against the coronavirus

Apollo Hospitals on Thursday announced that it plans to launch 5,000 isolation rooms across the country for people who have tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement came during the first-ever virtual media conference held by the Apollo Hospitals Group, with the entire top management in attendance, to announce its comprehensive and integrated response plan ‘Project Kavach’, which means ‘shield’, to take on the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are fighting a war not just for this generation but also for the generations to come. ‘Project Kavach’ will augment the government’s initiatives to address the Covid-19 pandemic and is part of our pledge to partner with the government and be at the frontlines in this critical battle,” said Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group.

The comprehensive ‘Project Kavach’ covers all aspects of fighting against the deadly virus starting from information to screening and assessment, testing and readying the infrastructure for quarantine and treatment.

Comprehensive plan

Under the comprehensive plan, Apollo Hospitals will soon launch “Project Stay I” - under which hotels and hostels will be created as medical rooms with light medical supervision for quarantine. This will prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed once the number of screenings is increased.

“Once we start extensive screening, a number of positive cases will come up, which need to be strictly isolated. This is not possible in many Indian homes where 6-7 people share common accommodation and toilet,” Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, adding that “this would address the situation where over 50 per cent of the cases need only isolation and paracetamol.”

In the first phase, the medical rooms will be rolled out in Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Delhi, starting with approximately 50 in each city, going up by 50 rooms every three days, to reach an eventual target of 5,000 rooms across the country.

“The importance of up-scaling the infrastructure is to be prepared in a scenario where each virus loaded patient can infect up to 4-5 people. At this stage, we should also be able to also address the anxiety of these patients in getting access to the right treatment,” Sangita added.

She also added that Apollo Hospitals expects to help over 10,000-15,000 patients in a month and prevent over 50 lakh infections under “Project Stay-I”.

Dedicated beds

The healthcare group has also created 250 dedicated beds to offer specialised treatment for critically ill patients.

“While we hope that community transmission does not take place on a large scale, we need to be prepared for the eventuality. There will be over 250 beds which can be enhanced to 500 beds, created only to treat the critically ill at any given time. We expect to give advanced care to over 2,000 patients a month,” said Preetha Reddy, Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Group.

On the expectations from the government, she said that the hospital industry has been going through trying times due to volume dip in planned procedures. The industry will come up as a whole bunch to make a request to the government.

“At one side, we are so committed to treating the patients who are coming to us under dire circumstances but on the other side, unless the private healthcare as a sector survives, we will see a total crash in the system itself,” Preetha added.

Commending the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the disease, Prathap Reddy said, “We reiterate the importance of Governments creating large separate hospitals for handling Covid-19. We believe that the lockdown is going to help significantly in flattening the curve but we feel that we still need to have at least 50,000 beds across the country in dedicated facilities because of the highly infectious nature of the virus.”

Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Group, said that the hospital has specially designed an AI-based Coronavirus Risk Assessment scan for screening and initial assessment which is available in the form of an app and on the website.

“Over 6 million people have already gone through the screening on the Apollo 24/7 app and website and it is expected that over 10 million Indians will use this scan to know their risk score,” she added.

Published on March 26, 2020

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