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Kerala gears up to receive returnees, readies 9.7 lakh hospital beds

Till Saturday, 5.34 lakh Keralites, including 3.98 lakh expatriates and 1.36 lakh from other states, have registered to return to the state.

Published: 03rd May 2020 06:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd May 2020 11:21 AM   |  A+A-

A family reaches Kochi airport wearing safety masks on Sunday

File photo of a family reaching Kochi airport wearing safety masks. (Photo | Arun Angela, EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Gearing up to address a possible inflow of Keralites from abroad and other states once the lockdown restrictions are lifted, the state has prepared itself to arrange 9.7 lakh hospital beds. The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) has identified 27,000 infrastructure facilities, including educational institutions, auditoriums, hostels, hotels and stadiums, which can be used for the purpose.

Till Saturday, 5.34 lakh Keralites, including 3.98 lakh expatriates and 1.36 lakh from other states, have registered to return to the state. Of the 9.7 lakh beds, about two lakh are in existing healthcare facilities — available beds in government and private hospitals — while the remaining can be arranged at identified establishments, where field hospitals can be set up within a week. A coordinated effort by different departments along with the SDMA is now underway in this regard.

A database of facilities which can be converted into field hospitals has been prepared and given to the public works department and the local self-government department (LSGD) to finalise which of these can be used for Covid prevention measures. “It’s a collective exercise. We have made an inventory, which has been shared with the LSGD and PWD.

These are the facilities available in the state. After field-level verification, they will finalise the facilities that can be used for Covid-19 prevention. The figure of 9 lakh possible beds is only a mathematical assumption, based on the available facilities,” said Sekhar Kuriakose, member secretary of the State Disaster Management Authority. “These facilities are not only to house the returning NRIs. Whether these are needed or not is an epidemiological decision. Of the 27,000 facilities identified, around 11,000 are schools. In an extreme scenario, if we want more space, then these can also be used,” he said.

27K facilities identified The State Disaster Management Authority has identified 27,000 infrastructure facilities. They include educational institutions, hotels, hostels, lodges, ITIs, Ayurveda centres, auditoriums, stadiums and similar establishments, in addition to the pay wards at government and private hospitals.

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