Pilgrimage sites in April, Nanded gurdwaras now turn COVID wards

Langar Sahib and Sachkhand Shri Hazur Sahib gurdwaras offer three buildings to municipality, volunteer to cook food for COVID-19 patients

More than 4,000 Sikh pilgrims who had gone to pay obeisance at Maharashtra’s Sachkhand Shri Hazur Sahib in April, before the lockdown was announced, were ferried to Punjab in state-arranged buses after Maharashtra reported an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases

The gurdwaras in Maharashtra’s Nanded, from where at least more than a thousand of the 4,218 pilgrims evacuated tested positive for COVID-19, have now turned into quarantine facilities for coronavirus patients.

The administration of Langar Sahib and Sachkhand Shri Hazur Sahib gurdwaras have offered three buildings meant for pilgrims to be converted into medical facilities when officials were looking for locations to set up Level-1 COVID-19 care centres (CCC), said a report in Indian Express.

“The administrators simply handed over the keys when the corporation made its request. The rooms are huge, clean and air-conditioned. The quarantine facilities are the best and most comfortable that you can expect to find anywhere,” IE quoted Dr Sureshsingh Bisen, Medical Health Officer, Nanded Waghala Municipal Corporation (NWMC) as saying.

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Bisen said the COVID-19 positive patients have been housed at the Langar Sahib’s 150-bed Yatri Nivas.

The gurdwara has volunteered to prepare food for the patients, which is delivered to the rooms by medical staff in PPE kits.

The Sachkhand Gurdwara, on the other hand, has accommodated suspect cases in the NRI Yatri Niwas and positive patients in the adjacent Punjab Bhawan. Both the buildings are in separate compounds and are divided by walls.

Officials told IE that all the 500 beds in the gurdwaras were almost full two weeks ago, while nine patients are being treated in Punjab Bhawan and 100 of their contacts are in quarantine in NRI Yatri Niwas.

The authorities of both the gurdwaras, however, declined to comment on their efforts.

According to the report, Nanded so far has 20 CCCs with 3,040 beds for pre-mild and mild cases, seven COVID health centres with 480 beds for moderate cases and nine COVID hospitals with 649 beds and 121 ICU beds and 38 ventilators for severe cases.

More than 4,000 Sikh pilgrims who had gone to pay obeisance at Maharashtra’s Sachkhand Shri Hazur Sahib in April, before the lockdown was announced, were ferried to Punjab in state-arranged buses after Maharashtra reported an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases.

Maharashtra has so far reported 37,543 cases, the highest in the country, with the death toll crossing 2,000.

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