Pune: "Not a single bed with oxygen support facility is vacant in the healthcare facilities across Pune city... You can give us your number and we will call you back…" This is the reply given by the disaster management control room to a citizen who had called in distress on Sunday night at around 8.30 pm.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has consistently claimed that there are a sufficient number of beds available in the city for patients who have been tested positive for COVID-19. The corporation hospitals and private hospitals combined have a strength of 8,000 beds and the COVID Care Centres have an additional capacity of 8,000 beds. The number of active cases in the city is hovering around the 10,000 marks and clearly, the bed availability ratio is not satisfactory.
Dr Abhijit More of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had made a call to the disaster management control room on Sunday night to enquire about the availability of beds for patients. More dialled the number and asked whether a bed with oxygen support would be available for a critical patient located at Nagar road. The staff at the control room responded negatively initially, but when More requested to check again, the concerned employee asked another colleague specifically about the availability of a bed with oxygen support facility. The colleague too responded negatively and that was conveyed to Dr More.
When Dr More asked whether the control room would inform him if such a bed becomes available, the staff asked for his number and address and noted it down. "You will get a call from us if a bed becomes available," the employee is heard saying in the audio call recording.
AAP office bearers have raised several questions over the crisis-preparation claims made by the PMC. "It's a horrible situation out there. No beds, no oxygen, no ICU available. It's a wake-up call for the guardian minister, district and civic administration officials," AAP said in a statement.