The Karnataka government today warned private hospitals across the state against refusal of treatment to COVID-19 patients, saying flouting of the directive will invite strict legal action, including framing of criminal cases.
Karnataka Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar, who addressed a press briefing at Vidhana Soudha after returning from a surprise visit to Jayanagar General Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Chest Hospital in Bengaluru, responded to questions regarding private hospitals refusing to treat COVID patients.
"No hospital should refuse to admit patients and if any hospital is found denying treatment, criminal cases will be registered against them," the Minister said.
The government's warning came a day after it issued a circular for shifting of patients in and around Bengaluru and bed allocation to them amid several grim reports of COVID-19 patients struggling to get admission to hospitals in the city.
Mr Sudhakar also informed about the state government's move of six different systems - COVID care centres, Government medical colleges, private medical colleges, government hospitals, corporate hospitals and home isolation with proper facilities and in compliance with the government's guidelines - for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Responding to the concerns over sudden spike in cases in Bengaluru, the Minister said, "The aim is to increase testing by optimal utilisation of capacity especially in private labs. Once we increase testing, it is natural that the positive cases will also increase. So citizens need not panic due to this but should take all precautionary measures."
"Bengaluru's mortality rate is the lowest at 1.46% compared to other metropolitan cities," he added.
Mr Sudhakar also said that as per the earlier directive, the private hospitals were supposed to allot 2,734 beds but only 116 beds have been provided so far. This issue will be addressed soon, he said.
Karnataka today witnessed its biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases with 1,925 additions and 37 related fatalities, taking the aggregate in the state to 23,474, the health department said.
Bengaluru continued to remain the single largest contributor of coronavirus cases in the state reporting a whopping 1,235 cases, 16 deaths and 302 discharges.