Apprehending a surge in COVID-19 cases during the Durga Puja festival, state government today introduced over 2,000 additional Covid beds in government hospitals to boost the healthcare infrastructure in the state to combat pandemic while chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced 250 additional medical seats in two hospitals.

During the festive season Miss Banerjee directed the state health department to augment bed capacity in an emergency manner following which arrangement has been made for an additional 1639 Covid beds in government hospitals.

Along with this arrangement has been made for 535 ICU beds in government hospitals across the state for providing treatment to critical patients. Stressing on a need to increase the number of medical seats in the state, Miss Banerjee said that the number of seats in the MBBS course has increased to 4,000 in the state with the addition of 250 seats in two medical colleges.

“I am pleased to announce that we now have 4,000 MBBS seats for Bengal’s vibrant medical students with the initiation of the first MBBS batch in Purulia Govt MCH consisting of 100 seats & the addition of 150 MBBS seats in Gouri Devi Medical College,” Miss Banerjee wrote on Twitter.

Last year, minister of state for health Chandrima Bhattacharya had informed the Assembly that the number of MBBS seats in West Bengal was 1,355 when the Trinamul Congress government came to power in the state in 2011.

A total of 2174 additional beds have been arranged currently and treatment of patients admitted in these beds in government hospitals will be free of cost.

A requisition for augmenting resources to accommodate more beds has been sent to private hospitals and such additional beds will be introduced very soon.

The State Cabinet had recently given approval for appointing around 2400 nurses in government hospitals across the state. Doctors have warned that if the number of Covid cases continue to spiral at the existing rate then Kolkata could be heading for a major crisis by the end of the pujas.

Miss Banerjee held a high-level meeting yesterday wherein she directed police to make arrangements for additional ambulances and beds in Covid hospitals.

According to officials, the decision to come up with additional Covid beds has been taken to tackle the expected surge in COVID-19 cases. Of the new 1639 Covid beds, 100 beds would be added in Medical College, 250 in ESI Balticuri, 150 in Chandannagar SDH, 100 in Midnapore MCH, 100 in Hatoara SSH in Purulia, 150 in Birbhum Niramoy TB Sanatorium, 200 in Biswa Bangla Krirangan in Jalpaiguri and others. Among the new 535 ICU beds, 80 beds are in MR Bangur, 80 in Baranagar SCH, 23 in NRS MCH, 50 in CNCI Rajarhat, 25 in COM and Sagar Dutta MCH, 20 in Singur Trauma Care Centre, 30 in Ashoknagar SGH and others.