People spend small fortune for hospital bed in New Delhi: Report
NEW DELHI: With few hospital beds available, families with relatives infected by the coronavirus in New Delhi say they are being forced to spend a small fortune.
More than 1,200 have died from the virus in the Indian capital and more than 1,000 new cases are being reported daily.
Ms Suman Gulati, whose father is a coronavirus patient, said she was asked for one million rupees (S$18,400) by a private hospital for a bed.
"Once I paid the money, getting a bed was not a problem. But arranging such a huge amount of money at such a critical time was," she told AFP.
A sting operation by the Mirror Now TV channel showed five Delhi hospitals asking coronavirus patients to pay up to US$5,250 (S$7,300) in order to be admitted.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused private hospitals of lying about available beds and promised tough action if they were found to be extorting money from patients.
India's federal government said yesterday it will provide New Delhi's city authorities with 500 railway coaches equipped to care for coronavirus patients to help it cope.
The coaches will increase Delhi's capacity by 8,000 beds, Home Minister Amit Shah said.
India is the fourth-worst affected country in the world, with cases steadily increasing. It reported a record single-day jump in cases yesterday with nearly 12,000 infections, taking the total to more than 320,000. It has nearly 9,000 deaths.
In South-east Asia, Malaysia said its borders will remain closed despite the easing of curbs.
Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said: "There is an exception made for foreign diplomats and those under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
"Malaysians will need a good reason to travel out of the country and apply to the Immigration Department for permission.
"For example, if a student needs to return to their university overseas to sit for an exam, that is allowed."
Malaysia reported eight new cases yesterday, taking its total to 8,453 infections. It also reported one death, raising total fatalities to 121. - AFP, REUTERS, THE STAR