'Project STAY I' offers isolation rooms for COVID-19 patients

To start with, there will be approximately 500 rooms in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai

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With the cases of coronavirus on the rise in India, several corporate from hospitality and banking to biopharmaceutical industry have joined hands to launch 'Project Stay I,' which offers isolation rooms for people needing quarantine facility.  

The isolation rooms will be available with light medical supervision for quarantine. The rooms will first be rolled out in hotels in Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Delhi.

To start with, there will be approximately 500 rooms in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. The number would go up by 50 rooms every three days till the target of 5,000 rooms are achieved.

The announcement was made over a virtual press conference on Monday. The ramp up in the number of rooms would be calibrated as per the need. The cities were considered based on government requests, support of local healthcare providers and corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds.

The model is said to be scalable and replicable and uses technology of telemedicine effectively. For this, Apollo Hospitals has joined hands with Hindustan Unilever, State Bank of India, Oyo Rooms, Lemon Tree, Ginger hotels and Zomato. The rooms would cost Rs 1,200-Rs 3,200 per night. This would be exclusive of cost of medicines and others consumables.

Patients who can afford will be requested to pay their dues. The ones who cannot afford would be offered the services free of cost. CSR fund of State Bank of India (SBI), Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Deutsche Bank India will take care of such cases.

This would typically be for the economy OYO rooms that range around Rs 1,200 per room. In other words, it is a model that banks on a combination of self-paying mode and CSR-funded customers.

Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group said, "Many families in India have 4-5 members and most of them share the same facilities and toilets. This fails the purpose of self-isolation since the virus is asymptomatic for the first week."

Guests who wish to book a room under Stay-I needs to visit Apollo's  website and fill out the form present on the homepage.

Guests can also call our 24/7 helpline number 18605000202 to avail this facility. Apollo Hospitals team would get back to the guest with details of the booking confirmation and check-in requirements within three hours.

Once checked into the facility, Apollo Hospitals would provide two virtual medical rounds every day, with a specialist being available round the clock on a platform called AskApollo / 24|7 platforms.

The medications or the diagnostics prescribed during the rounds would be door delivered to the person's room. Apollo Hospitals would put in place medical protocols and procedures for isolation as per the highest standards of excellence and ensure best practices are followed. Before onboarding a facility, a complete requirement checks of the facility along with a comprehensive training to Oyo staff to screen the patients will be done by Apollo Hospitals. Testing will be done as per ICMR guidelines.  

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director of Biocon, who has been playing a part of mentorship, has come forward to support the cost of testing to those who cannot afford the Rs 4,500 price cap fixed by the government for tests in private labs.

"From our part, we are willing to provide free testing, she said, adding that, "We have a short window of opportunity to make a success of the lockdown, quarantine and making sure that we don't get overwhelmed in terms of the need for critical care."

The Stay-I model, Shaw feels is a model that needs to be emulated by all the hospitals and hotels. She described it as a "step up model where in people with mild symptoms could be housed."

Only when there are symptoms such guests could be shifted into the hospitals, for a higher level care.

Apollo Hospitals' Reddy said, his hospital chain will not charge for the telemedicine and will only charge at cost and the dictated MRPs for the medicines.

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