A COVID care centre equipped with 500 oxygen beds will be restarted in Delhi amid a surge in coronavirus cases, and border guarding force Indo-Tibetan Border Police has been again entrusted to run it, officials said on Thursday.
An order issued by the Union home ministry said the Delhi government has "sought assistance to re-operationalise" the Sardar Patel COVID care centre with 500 oxygen beds, that was first created last year at the Radha Soami Beas campus located in south Delhi's Chhattarpur area.
"Keeping in view the above request, it has been decided to provide adequate number of medical officers and para-medical staff to man 500 oxygenated beds at SPCCC."
"ITBP is designated as a nodal force for operation of the SPCCC...ITBP may draw the required medical manpower (doctors and paramedics), if needed, from other central armed police forces also," the order said.
Delhi has been witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases. Over 24,000 fresh COVID-19 cases and 249 deaths were recorded on Wednesday amid a growing clamour for oxygen and hospital beds in the city.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police director general S S Deswal said that the force is putting together the manpower for the facility that was first operationalised in June-July last year when COVID-19 cases in Delhi were witnessing a steep rise.
Official data stated that the centre was shut on February 23 and it treated 11,657 COVID patients since its opening last year.
It was shut due to "continuous decline in the number of coronavirus positive cases in the National Capital Territory of Delhi vis-a-vis adequate availability of medical facilities," an official data said.
Deswal said "the ITBP manpower will be in place as soon as the infrastructure at the centre is ready."
"We will have sufficient doctors and staff. If need arises, we can deploy more of our doctors and medical staff to enhance beds at this centre that will be made operational with 500 beds initially," he said.
A senior official added that the centre is expected to be operational in the next three days.
The MHA order added that "the boarding and lodging arrangements for doctors and para-medical staff including expenses thereon will be made by the Delhi government."
After the surge in coronavirus cases, the ITBP has recently activated a number of other facilities for treating its personnel, those from other police forces and CAPFs, their veterans and families.
While a COVID care centre with 90 beds has been reactivated by the force at the CAPFs Referral hospital in Greater Noida, another centre with 200-beds has been started at the ITBP camp in Chhawla where the first batch of Indians and some foreigners returning from Wuhan in China were quarantined last year after the pandemic broke out.
A third such facility of 50-60 beds is being run by the 90,000 personnel strong force at its composite hospital located in Chandigarh.
The ITBP, that was raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression, is primarily tasked to guard the 3,488 Kms long Line of Actual Control with China apart from rendering a variety of roles in the internal security domain of the country.