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Delhi govt defends ‘bed reservation’ call, says hospitals needed for its residents amid rise in Coronavirus cases

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Sunday informed that for now Delhi hospitals will be available only for the residents of the city, while Central hospitals will remain open for all.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Delhi government has defended its decision to reserve hospital beds for its residents citing the rising number of Coronavirus cases.

“Given the cases, hospitals are needed for Delhiites. Neighboring states say they have less cases so it shouldn’t be issue,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Monday amid backlash over the decision.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Sunday informed that for now Delhi hospitals will be available only for the residents of the city, while Central hospitals will remain open for all.

Addressing a press briefing, Jain further said that the government has 8,500 to 9,000 beds for Coronavirus patients.

“In the next 15 days we will take it to 15,000 to 17,000. Since the doubling rate of cases is 14 to 15 days, we think cases will reach 56,000 in the next two weeks,” the health minister was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

He further added that “had the Centre stopped international flights on time, the situation could have been better”.

“People of Delhi and Mumbai were most affected due to coronavirus as flights from foreign countries came into Delhi and Mumbai. If the Central government had banned flights earlier such situations might not have emerged.”

Earlier on Saturday, the chief minister, in a strict warning had said that “those indulging in black marketing of beds using the influence of other political parties will not be spared”.

“Some hospitals are denying admission to COVID-19 patients. I am warning those who think they will be able to do black-marketing of beds using the influence of their protectors from other parties, you will not be spared,” the chief minister said at a virtual press briefing amid reports of Coronavirus patients being turned away at private hospitals.

He said the government had launched the ‘Delhi Corona’ app to stop black marketing of beds.

Several people have complained over social media that they were made to run from one hospital to another and refused admission or testing, despite showing symptoms.

The chief minister, however, clarified that there is no dearth of beds at present in Delhi.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain earlier on Friday had said the issue was that some hospitals were “not updating” the data on the Delhi government’s coronavirus tracking application on time or “misrepresenting actual data” when patients call.

Shortly after Kejriwal’s warning, the Delhi Police registered an FIR against Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on Saturday for violating the ICMR guidelines for tests of novel Coronavirus following a complaint by the state government.

The complaint filed by Amit Kumar Pamasi, Deputy Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Delhi government, against the hospital Medical Superintendent read that the hospital was not using RT-PCR app while collecting Covid samples, which is “mandatory”.

The Delhi government had issued a directive for the private hospital on June 3 in this regard. Apart from this, the testing guidelines have been put in place by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Meanwhile, the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) has slammed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for “issuing warning” and “threatening” hospitals amidst the Coronavirus crisis.

The DMA also condemned the Delhi Police’s action against Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

The national capital is the second worst Coronavirus-hit state with 28,936 cases and 812 deaths.