Amid a record surge in coronavirus cases, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday revised the national policy for admission of COVID patients to various categories of COVID facilities and clarified that requirement of a positive test for COVID-19 virus is not mandatory for admission to a COVID health facility.

The ministry said a suspect case shall be admitted to the suspect ward of Covid Care Centers (CCC) / Dedicated Covid Health Centers (DCHC) and Dedicated Covid Hospitals (DCH) as the case may be.

As per the Union Government directive to all States and UTs, hospitals under the Central Government, State Governments and Union Territory administration including private hospitals (in States and Union Territories) managing COVID Patients shall ensure that no patient will be refused services on any count that includes medications such as oxygen or essential drugs even if the patient belongs to a different city.

No patient shall be refused admission on the ground that he/she is not able to produce a valid identity card that does not belong to the city where the hospital is located, said the ministry.

The Health Ministry also said that admissions to the hospital must be based on need and it should be ensured that beds are not occupied by persons who do not need hospitalisation. It said that the discharge should be strictly in accordance with its revised discharge policy.

The Union Health Ministry has advised the Chief Secretaries of States/Union territories to issue necessary orders and circulars, incorporating the above directions within three days, which shall be enforced till replaced by an appropriate uniform policy.

It had earlier enunciated a policy of setting up a three-tier health infrastructure for appropriate management of suspect/confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The guidance document issued in this regard on April 7, 2020, envisages setting up of COVID Care Center (CCC) that shall offer care for mild cases, said the ministry adding that these have been set up in hostels, hotels, schools, stadiums, lodges, both public and private.