Mumbai is gearing up to tackle the novel coronavirus outbreak with a makeshift 1,000-bed mega-hospital. This facility under the care of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is almost 70 per cent ready.

Constructed on a sprawling ground in the middle of the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), this Covid-19 healthcare facility is along the lines of those made in Wuhan city in China’s Hubei province which is ground zero for the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) outbreak.

As of May 11, the city of Mumbai has reported 528 coronavirus-related deaths by the ninth week of the outbreak in Maharashtra. The Health Department has put the total number of confirmed cases of infection in the state to 14,355.

In Mumbai, 3,110 patients have recovered from the infection and discharged from various hospitals but the urgent need for more hospitals persists.

Work underway at the makeshift hospital in BKC on May 11 (Photo Credits: Vidya)

The city’s overburdened healthcare system prompted the Maharashtra government to assign the construction of this hospital to the MMRDA on April 28 of this year. MMRDA rose to the occasion and deployed round 700 people to work round the clock to prepare this facility.

Commissioner, MMRDA, RA Rajiv told India Today, “All our work is going on at fast pace. We are planning to hand over this hospital to the civic authority (BMC) by May 15 or May 16. There will be 526 beds with oxygen supply and 525 beds without an oxygen supply. The area for patients will not have air conditioning while the reception and area for doctors and nursing staff will be air-conditioned. However, the roof is high and fans are being put up and there is proper ventilation. There should not be an issue with warm weather here.”

Within nine days, the MMRDA has put in sewage and water pipelines, electricity supply along with the flooring of the makeshift hospital and the ceiling. The sidewalls, placement of furniture and construction of washrooms are the only things pending. On Monday, fire brigade officials visited the hospital at BKC even as municipal corporation officials are being consulted for every detail.

Design of the makeshift hospital in BKC (Photo Credits: Vidya)

Once completed, the facility will have 1,015 beds in total. It will also have pathological labs for blood tests, ECG etc. There will also be nursing stations and washrooms around every few rows of beds.

The MMRDA Commissioner estimates that the makeshift hospital will cost the Maharashtra government around Rs 20 crore for three months. “I really hope we do not have to use this hospital for too long but the local authority can use it for as long as it needs it. This hospital is equipped to handle the harsh monsoon that Mumbai witnesses. We have planned it in such a way that we can keep using it for three months. After that, there will be extra rent that we will have to pay for all the material used for the construction of the ceiling and floor. We have not procured these materials. They are just on hire,” MMRDA Commissioner RA Rajiv added.

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