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Delhi Covid crisis: Shah to meet LG, Kejriwal today

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck
Last updated on: June 14, 2020 09:57 IST
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With the coronavirus cases rising sharply to nearly 39,000 in the national capital, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will hold a meeting with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and others on Sunday to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the city.


Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI Photo

A separate meeting will be held with the mayors and municipal commissioners of Delhi's three civic bodies.

Kejriwal will also interact with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with his counterparts including West Bengal, Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka, where the coronavirus cases are on a much higher side, on June 17.

The national capital recorded 2,134 fresh coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the COVID-19 tally in the city to 38,958, while the the death toll mounted to 1,271, according to the latest Delhi health department bulletin.

It was the second consecutive day when the number of reported cases breached the 2,000-mark. On Friday, Delhi had witnessed 2,137 cases, the highest single-day spike.

As many as 57 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours.

The number of coronavirus cases in Delhi is the third highest in the country after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Another meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is also scheduled on June 16 which will see discussion on capping private hospital and ambulance charges and reducing COVID-19 private lab tests in the wake of complaints of exorbitant prices.

The meeting will be attended by Kejriwal and Baijal.

Taking note of the 'gravity' of the coronavirus situation in the national capital, the Delhi high court has directed the Aam Aadmi Party government and the Centre to increase the number of beds and ventilators for COVID-19 patients.

"Considering the gravity of the situation, we hereby direct the respondents (Centre and Delhi government) to increase the number of the beds for COVID-19 patients and also try to increase the number of ventilators so that all COVID patients in need can get these facilities," the bench said in its order which was passed on June 11 but made available on Saturday.

Earlier this week, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had said the coronavirus patients in Delhi are expected to reach 5.5 lakh by July end.

During the same period, 1,50,000 beds will be needed, Kejriwal had said.

On the Sunday's meeting, Shah's office tweeted, 'Home Minister, Shri @AmitShah and Health Minister, @drharshvardhan to hold meeting with @LtGovDelhi, CM Delhi & members of SDMA to review situation in the capital regarding COVID-19 tomorrow, 14th June at 11 am. Director AIIMS and other senior officers would also be present.'

Hours later, the home minister's office announced that a separate meeting will be held on Sunday with the mayors and top officials of Delhi's three municipal corporations -- North, South and East.

Baijal is the chairman of the DDMA.

He has also formed a six-member panel to formulate a COVID-19 management plan and suggest ways to ramp up medical infrastructure in the capital.

The six-member panel also includes National Disaster Management Authority members Krishna Vatsa and Kamal Kishore; Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) DG Balram Bhargava, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, DGHS Additional DDG Dr Ravindran and National Centre for Disease Control Director Surjit Kumar Singh.

This comes close on the heels of Baijal's recent assertions on hospital beds and testing, and overturning of two Delhi government orders -- reserving hospital beds only for residents of Delhi in hospitals except those run by the Centre and testing of only symptomatic patients.

There has been criticism from different quarters over the handling of COVID-19 cases in the capital with complaints of non-availability of beds in hospitals for patients and difficulty in getting the tests done in laboratories.

The Supreme Court on Friday lashed out at the city government, terming as 'horrific' the state of affairs in Delhi hospitals with bodies being stacked next to COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, a day after the apex court expressed concern over fewer coronavirus tests in the national capital, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain put the onus on the ICMR, saying its guidelines should be changed for the testing to increase.

The Supreme Court had had asked the government to ensure that there should be a 'steep increase in the testing both by Government hospitals and private labs” as “non-testing of the patients is not a solution to the problem'.

Jain said that the Delhi government is following the guidelines of the ICMR.

"If you want the number of tests conducted for coronavirus to increase, ask the Indian Council of Medical Research to change its guidelines. We cannot flout ICMR guidelines," he said.

The Delhi government had last week issued testing guidelines making it mandatory that only symptomatic patients will be tested for COVID-19, but the Lieutenant Governor had overruled it on Monday stressing that ICMR guidelines testing of contacts of patients be followed 'without any deviation'.

In its efforts to ramp up the health infrastructure, the Delhi government is planning a 10,000-bed makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients under a sprawling tent in south Delhi to prepare for a projected surge in cases in the city.

The planned COVID-19 facility will come up at the south Delhi campus of spiritual organisation Radha Soami Satsang Beas on the Delhi-Haryana border.

Similar facilities have been established in Mumbai.

The city has a total 9,647 dedicated COVID-19 beds in state-run, central, and private hospitals. Of these, 5,402 are occupied.

The Delhi government has also started the process to identify community halls and stadiums which can be converted into makeshift COVID-19 hospitals.

Kejriwal has also appealed to all doctors to volunteer for the city government's telemedicine helpline to provide free healthcare advice to people.

In a video message, Kejriwal urged them to register with the government by giving a miss call on 08047192219.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.