July 17, 2020 / 3:12 PM / a month ago

At India's largest COVID-19 hospital, doctors ready to tackle second wave of virus

Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) tend to a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital, in New Delhi, India July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Doctors at India’s largest hospital treating coronavirus patients said on Friday they are prepared if infections increase again in the capital, while rising cases in other parts of the country pushed the number of infections past one million on Friday.

The 2,000-bed Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital has been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic in New Delhi, having treated over 6,000 COVID-19 patients. Now patient numbers have fallen in the city.

“Even if we have larger number and a second wave comes (in New Delhi), then we have very excellent facility ... and we are prepared for that,” the hospital’s medical director, Suresh Kumar, told Reuters during a visit to the government-run hospital.

The COVID-19 ward, bustling with patients at the start of pandemic, was largely quiet with only a few beds occupied when Reuters visited on Friday.

But patients were trickling in. Staff wheeled in a 29-year-old man on a stretcher with a hand on his chest, his mother walking in next to him. The ICU had relatively more patients.

When the pandemic started to sweep New Delhi a few months ago, the hospital scrambled to find enough beds or equipment.

Infections numbers are now rising in the smaller towns and villages rather than in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai that were the initial hotspots, so doctors at the hospital say they have had a chance to catch a breath.

Kumar said that in the course of the fight against the disease, two hospital staff had died.

(For an interactive graphic on state-wise daily coroanvirus cases in India, click here: tmsnrt.rs/2CASYPg)

Additional reporting by Reuters TV staff; Writing by Zeba Siddiqui; Editing by Frances Kerry

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