The central government on Sunday briefed states of the infirmities in India’s infrastructure, specifically the shortage of isolation beds, ventilators and ICU beds.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the presentation, which was based on data up to April 23, revealed that Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam had the largest numbers of districts with grave shortages of all three kinds of equipment.
According to the data, 183 districts across the country have less than 100 isolation beds — and 67 of these districts have seen cases of coronavirus infection. As many as 53 (out of 75) districts in UP have fewer than 100 isolation beds, and 31 of these districts have reported cases.
Moreover, Bihar is number two on the infirmity list with 20 of 38 districts having fewer than 100 isolation beds. Nine of these districts have reported coronavirus cases so far. In Assam, which is third on the list, 19 (out of 33) districts have less than 100 isolation beds and 6 districts have reported positive cases so far.
A total of 123 districts nationwide have zero ventilator beds; 39 of these districts have seen cases. UP has 35 of these districts — and 20 of them have reported cases. Bihar and Assam have 28 and 17 such districts respectively, and 10 and 3 of them respectively have seen cases.
The presentation also flagged the possibility of infrastructure shortage based on projections for May 3. For instance, it suggested that Mumbai could see a shortage of isolation beds with oxygen by May 2, with 9,632 cases projected by that date. The meeting, which was chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, was attended by the health secretaries of the states.
The Cabinet Secretary’s presentation seemed critical of the data provided by states — it asked whether there was overutilisation of beds, where patients were housed, and whether administrations were “actually aware of what is happening in the field”, and remarked that “with managing COVID-19 as the only task, it is strange if we cannot do even basic data entry”.