Amid a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths in Delhi, as many as 2,000 normal and 1,300 ICU beds have been added in city hospitals in the past two weeks for Covid patients, an official said today.

The official said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has been monitoring the situation and that all efforts are being made by the Delhi government to bring down the Covid mortality rate.

The death rate stood at 1.89 per cent yesterday. Delhi recorded over 100 Covid deaths for the fifth consecutive day yesterday. “A total of 1,300 ICU beds and 2,000 non-ICU beds for Covid-19 patients have been added in Delhi in the past two weeks, with the maximum 232 ICU beds in GTB Hospital. In Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital, 200 ICU beds have been added in the same period,” the official said.

He said there are currently 9,000 normal beds and over 1,000 ICU beds available for coronavirus patients in the national capital. During a Covid review meeting of CMs of eight worst Covid-hit states, convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday through video conference, Kejriwal had urged the PM to reserve 1,000 ICU beds for Covid patients in the Centre-run hospitals like AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal today directed officers to ensure timely hospitalisation of Covid patients under home isolation in case of emergency to reduce the mortality rate in the national capital which has recorded over 100 daily deaths in 7 of the last 13 days.

The LG also asked officers to ensure strict monitoring of Covid patients under home isolation as there have been instances of some people not following isolation norms.

According to official data, there were 22,246 Covid patients under home isolation in Delhi till yesterday. Baijal reviewed the Covid situation in Delhi, hospital preparedness and implementation of a new strategy and action points recently issued by Union home minister Amit Shah.

At a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), Baijal asked officials to enhance surveillance, strictly enforce containment measures, increase testing and scale up requisite medical infrastructures like ICU and ventilators. During the review meeting, CM Kejriwal urged experts to audit Covid death cases and suggest measures to reduce fatalities in the national capital.

The meeting was also attended by Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, chief secretary Vijay Dev, NITI Aayog member V K Paul, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria, ICMR DG Balram Bhargava as well as other experts and senior officers of the Delhi government.

Delhi recorded 109 Covid fatalities yesterday as against Monday’s121. It reported 121 deaths on Sunday, 111 on Saturday, 118 on Friday,131 on 18 November ~ the highest till date ~ and 104 fatalities on 12 November.

The tally of active cases in the city stood at 38,501 yesterday. With the addition of 20 ventilators to the beds available at Burari Hospital, fullfledged ICU treatment will now be available at this Delhi government’s newly set-up hospital.

Thirty more ventilators will be made available to the hospital by Saturday.

It will also have a bio-medical and surgical waste management facility.

Addressing the inaugural function there today, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said patients could now avail themselves of proper treatment at this healthcare centre. “Burari Hospital has completed four months today. I’m proud of the work done by the staff. Looking after 1000 Covid patients in such a short span is an example of commendable work done at the hospital.

Today, we have added 20 ventilators that will allow for full-fledged ICU treatment. Twenty non-ventilated ICU beds are already available. A ventilator is an important facility. Burari Hospital is now fully equipped to treat patients,” he said.

Clad in a PPE suit, Jain visited the hospital’s Covid Ward and met the patients there. Reassuring them not to lose hope, he took their feedback and directed the hospital staff to act accordingly. Urging people to take proper precautions, he said Delhi was experiencing the third wave of coronavirus infection and that the most effective way to protect oneself is to wear a face mask.

(With inputs from PTI)