Healthcare major Apollo Hospitals said it has launched 'Project Stay I' with 500 rooms in select hotels across the country in the first phase with light medical supervision for quarantine. This effort is aimed at creating isolation and quarantine facilities and reducing the burden on hospitals providing acute care.
Joining hands with partners including HUL, SBI and OYO, Apollo Hospitals plans to scale this capacity to up to 5,000 rooms where patients can stay in isolation.
'Project Stay I' (Stay Isolated) is a part of its 'Project Kavach' announced last week by Apollo Hospitals Group Chairman Prathap C Reddy to fight the VOVID-19 pandemic.
"Apollo along with our partners commits to add up to 5,000 rooms where patients can stay in isolation. These will be 5,000 telemedicine medically supervised beds so that those who are in isolation stay in isolation and don't spread the infection to others," Apollo Hospitals Group Joint MD Sangita Reddy said.
Isolation is not possible in many Indian homes where 5-7 people stay in the same room and where they share a bathroom, she said.
"So we realised for those who can't afford, there was need to find capacity to cover the cost, and HUL, SBI and Deutsche Bank have come forward and said for those who cannot afford it they will cover the cost of care," she added.
"Apollo Hospitals is not charging for the the telemedicine network or our medical supervision. Only the medicines will be charged at actual costs and the MRPs," Reddy said.
As part of phase 1, Apollo Hospitals is launching around 500 rooms in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi which will be scaled up to 5,000 rooms across other cities in successive phases on the basis pf further assessment, she added.
"Project Stay I will help to 'Break the chain' and is expected to help over?10,000 patients in a month and prevent over 50 lakh infections," Reddy said.
For the 'Project Stay I', initiative Apollo Hospitals has partnered with hospitality chains such as Lemon Tree Hotels, Ginger Hotels and OYO and online restaurant guide and food ordering platform Zomato.
Apart from them, leading entities such as HUL, State Bank of India and Deutsche Bank have also joined hands in the initiative.
The objective is to create isolation and quarantine facilities away from the main hospitals in cities across the country and reduce the burden on hospitals providing acute care.
"The steps taken by the Government of India in screening, testing and keeping high risk individuals in state quarantine facilities to prevent the extensive spread of the disease is indeed commendable. However, with increase in the scale and scope of testing, the number of positive cases are expected to increase," Reddy said in the media conference call.
There will also be a rise in the number of individuals requiring to be quarantined due to contact with COVID-19 patients. This will put a huge load on the government facilities for quarantine. This is the time for the private sector to step up to the challenge to aid, augment, and support the government, she added.
The model is envisaged to have a combination of self-paying and CSR funded customers, Apollo Hospitals said.
On the development, HUL Chairman and MD Sanjiv Mehta said: "Isolation facilities are extremely important to curb the spread of this virus. As Hindustan Unilever we are delighted to partner with organisations like Apollo Hospitals, State Bank of India, Oyo, Lemon Tree and many more to help create isolation facilities."
This will help in augmenting the quarantine system already put in place by the government, he added.
Biocon Chairperson and MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said: "We have a very small window of opportunity to really make a success of lockdown, of quarantine and making sure we don't get overwhelmed in terms of the need for critical care."
'Project Stay I' is a very important initiative that is being embarked upon. This is a model that needs to emulated by all the hospitals and hotels put together, she added.
OYO Founder & Group CEO Ritesh Agarwal said: "Our partnership with Apollo Hospitals has been developed to ensure we utilise capacity where possible to create highly sanitised pay per use quarantine facilities under the guidance and supervision of medical professionals."
This is an unprecedented situation which requires all of us to find new ways to work together and rise to the occasion, he added.
Highlighting the need of the initiative, Deutsche Bank India Chief Country Officer Kaushik Shaparia said: "We've seen with other countries that people needing intensive medical care can very quickly outrun the available facilities. This partnership is a step towards addressing that challenge and the model provides an excellent way by which to respond quickly to people in need and curtail further spread of the disease."
On their role in 'Project Stay I', Zomato Co-Founder & COO Gaurav Gupta said: "We are glad to team up with Apollo Hospitals and other service providers for 'Project Stay I' and lend our services to make sure people in isolation have access to good food. We are enabling our network for the supply and employing our logistics capabilities to facilitate daily meals."
Stating that Lemon Tree Hotels has been in the forefront in partnering with government on fight against COVID-19 pandemic, Lemon Tree Hotels President Vikramjit Singh said: "From the beginning of this crisis, Lemon Tree has supported state governments in offering quarantine accommodation and we are now happy to partner with Apollo Hospitals on 'Project Stay I'."
Lemon Tree Hotels believes it is extremely important for the private sector, especially hospitality, to play an active role in helping the government control this pandemic, he added.