The order was criticised by Opposition and people who feared it would delay COVID test results.
Asymptomatic coronavirus patients, who require less medical attention and should ideally go to quarantine centres, get admitted to private hospitals leading to shortage of beds for those who are critically ill or have severe symptoms, Mumbai's civic body has said in response to the criticism of its week-old directive.
Mumbai accounts for almost half of the 1.20 lakh coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in India by the pandemic. On June 13, the city's civic body - - the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) - had told private labs in Mumbai to not give coronavirus test results directly to patients, and instead inform its officials.
"The order was passed to ensure that walk-in hospitalization of asymptomatic Coronavirus patients does not deny Covid bed/Covid ICU beds at government fixed rates to the genuine symptomatic patients," the BMC said in a statement.
The BMC said the private hospitals were only too happy to admit asymptomatic patients as they need less care and pay the same amount as someone who needs critical medical care.
The government has reserved 80 per cent beds in all private hospitals of the city for treatment of critical COVID-19 patients. It has also put a cap on the cost of coronavirus treatment and test at all private facilities.
"Asymptomatic patients, who should ideally go to quarantine centres, often get admitted to private hospitals. These hospitals should not treat asymptomatic patients. They should focus on those who need medical attention," the BMC said.
The BMC's directive drew criticism from Opposition parties and people who expressed fears of delay in getting results and thus timely medical attention for COVID-19, cases of which registered the steepest one day rise in the country and Maharashtra with 13,586 and 3,752 cases, respectively, on Thursday.
Recently, Health Minister Rajesh Tope had also allayed fears that the decision would delay access to timely care to asymptomatic people saying as the BMC has a compulsory 24-hour result declaration protocol in place.
"The strategy is patient-centric," the minister had said.
The death rate in the state is at 4.77 per cent while the recovery rate is 50.49 per cent. The doubling rate is at over 25 days.