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NEW DELHI: Delayed referrals of moderate and severe covid-19 patients from rural areas to tertiary healthcare facilities has been a major reason for rising fatalities in the country, the private healthcare industry believes. And as such the Centre should frame a referral protocol for prompt transfer of covid-19 patients.

This comes as cases see a surge in rural areas which so far seemed to insulated from the disease.

This was shared by representatives of the industry in a meeting with the union health ministry last week.

"The virus has now spread in peripheral towns and as mentioned, the hospitals do not have the facilities of RT-PCR, swab collection or testing so these patients are retained in their respective towns for 4-5 days till the situation worsens. 80% of these patients with minor symptoms recovere but for the remaining, we have very small window to intervene and provide proper medication support through oxygen, antiviral, steroid, plasma therapy," said Alok Roy, chair, FICCI Health Services Committee, and chairman Medica Group of Hospitals

The industry has recommended that hospitals in tier II and tier III cities should refer patients to bigger facilities the moment they find come across serve symptoms.

It added that the industry has been perturbed with frequently changing regulation, price caps, rising cost of human resources and other requisites for delivering care amid dwindling financial viability.

India's covid case load touched 55 lakhs on Monday, with 86,961 fresh cases reported in the last 24 hours. Of the total, 76% of new cases are concentrated in 10 states/union territories.

The deaths toll is at 88,316.

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