Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan are holding a meeting with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and members of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) on Sunday at 11 am to review the Coronavirus situation in the national capital.
Before the meeting the Delhi government declared that all small and multi-speciality nursing homes with 10-49 beds will now be treated as “COVID-19 nursing homes,” to increase the bed capacity for coronavirus patients.
It also directed all such nursing homes to make their beds available in the next three days.
These nursing homes will have to make sure that intermingling of Coronavirus and non-COVID-19 patients won’t happen in there premises.
In a statement, the Delhi government said, “In order to avoid intermingling of COVID and non-COVID patients in small and medium multispeciality nursing homes, also to augment the bed capacity for COVID-19 patients, all nursing homes in the national capital territory of Delhi, having bed strength of 10 to 49, are declared as COVID nursing homes.”
According to NDTV’s report, the Delhi government will add around 20,000 beds in the hotels and banquet halls of the city to tackle the coronvirus cases which have spiked up in the national capital.
While , in the meeting with the meeting, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and other senior officers will also be present at the meeting, informed the Home Minister’s office on Saturday.
Earlier on Wednesday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had kept his political differences aside and rushed to meet Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the continuous spike in cases in the national capital.
Meanwhile, Central officials, at a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) on Tuesday told the Delhi government that there is no community transmission of Coronavirus as the city as of now. However, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had told reporters that 5.5 lakh cases are expected in Delhi by July 31 based on the current doubling rate. He said COVID-19 cases are doubling every 12-13 days in Delhi.
A day before, on June 8, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had overruled two controversial orders of the Arvind Kejriwal government on reserving Delhi government-run and private hospitals in the national capital for Delhiites and allowing COVID-19 test for only symptomatic patients.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Sunday informed that for now Delhi hospitals will be available only for the residents of the city. At the same time, he clarified that hospitals run by the Centre will have no such restriction, and if people from other states come to the national capital for specific surgeries, they can get medical treatment at private hospitals.
He also said private hospitals, except those where surgeries like neurosurgery, are performed would also be kept reserved for Delhi residents.
He had justified the decision on hospitals citing the report of a panel which stated that Delhi will need 15,000 beds by the end of June and if people of other states are allowed to get treatment, all beds here will be occupied within just three days.
However, Lt. Governor Anil Baijal overruled the order saying, “treatment should not be denied to any patient on grounds of being a non-resident”.
He also cited Delhi High Court and Supreme Court judgements to assert that ‘Right to Health’ is an integral part of ‘Right to Life’ under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The L-G also overruled the city government’s order for coronavirus testing only for symptomatic patients, saying it deviated from the guidelines set by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
He said this deviation from the ICMR guidelines can result in inadequate contact tracing of affected individuals and can result in further spread of COVID-19 in the national capital. Baijal said all nine categories people, including asymptomatic, as prescribed by the ICMR should be examined in the national capital.
CM Kejriwal had said the city’s testing capacity is limited and it will be overwhelmed if everyone went for the test, adding that asymptomatic persons should not go for it.
Following the overruling of orders, the chief minister on Wednesday stated that the Lieutenant Governor’s directives will be implemented in letter and spirit while asserting that this was not the time for disagreements or arguments.
He further said that Delhi needs about 1.5 lakh beds by July and added that he will personally oversee stadiums being turned into quarantine centres.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Amit Shah’s meeting with the L-G and CM Arvind Kejriwal also comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court slamming the city government over its handling of dead bodies in hospitals stating that it reflected a “very sorry state of affairs” in the national capital amid a spike in Coronavirus cases.
Citing media reports on how bodies lie in hospitals stacked against each other, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court observed that lack of beds in hospitals is an issue of concern.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah had on Thursday taken suo motu cognizance of reports of improper handling of COVID-19 patients and undignified disposal of victims’ bodies in Delhi hospitals.
The bench termed the situation in Delhi as “horrendous, horrific and pathetic” and reproached the Arvind Kejriwal led-government for patients being placed alongside stacks of dead bodies in the hospitals.
It further slammed the fall in testing compared to cities such as Mumbai even as infections continue to spike.
Delhi has seen a spurt in Coronavirus cases and over 1,000 new cases daily for the past few days. It is the third worst-hit state in India with 38958 cases.
Delhi had recorded 2,137 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest single-day spike. As many as 71 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours, according to the latest Delhi health department bulletin. This is the first time when over 2,000 cases have been reported in a day in Delhi. The previous highest spike in fresh cases — 1,877– was recorded on June 11.
Meanwhile, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on on Friday said that the lockdown will not be extended in the national capital. The clarification came in response to a huge buzz on social media that Delhi would go back into lockdown from June 15 till July 31 to check the spiraling COVID-19 cases.
Till today, Delhi has recorded 38958 positive cases of Coronavirus, 22742 active cases and 14945 recoveries so far, according to Health Ministry. While, the fatalities in the national capital due to COVID-19 reached 1271 .