Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, after spending over two days in self-quarantine following COVID-19 symptoms, on Wednesday said that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s directives will be implemented in letter and spirit while asserting that this was not the time for disagreements or arguments.
“This is not the time to fight with each other and do politics. This is the time for all governments and organisations to stand together to defeat Coronavirus,” he said at a press briefing.
A day after his COVID-19 test result returned negative, Kejriwal thanked the people for their good wishes and blessings. On Monday, it was revealed that the chief minister had developed a fever and had been displaying symptoms of cough and sore throat since Sunday afternoon.
Addressing media on the Coronavirus situation in Delhi, the chief minister also said that for everyone’s safety, promoting social distancing and usage of masks has to be a people’s movement just like the odd-even scheme.
“In SDMA’s meeting yesterday, the numbers that were presented showed that by June 15 will be having 44,000 coronavirus cases, June 30 – 1 lakh, July 15 – 2.15 lakh cases. For everyone’s safety, promoting social distancing and usage of masks has to be a ‘jan andolan’ (people’s movement), just like the odd-even scheme,” he said.
The chief minister 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.
“In normal times, 50 per cent patients come from outside Delhi for treatments. So going by that calculation, we need about 1.5 lakh beds by July. I will personally oversee stadiums being turned into quarantine centres. In last eight days, Delhi hospitals admitted 1,900 people. Around 4,200 beds are vacant in hospitals,” Kejriwal said.
Meanwhile, his decision to go with the directives of the L-G comes two days after Anil Baijal 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, the Centre vs State row brewed up once again as Lt. Governor Anil Baijal overruled the order saying, “treatment should not be denied to any patient on grounds of being a non-resident”.
Baijal cited a Delhi High Court ruling and said, “The Delhi High Court in a writ petition ‘Social Jurist, a Civil Rights Group versus GNCTD and Another’ after examining constitutional provisions in details, especially Article 14 and 21, after looking at jurisprudence in this regard, has held that denying patients medical treatment on ground of not being resident of NCT of Delhi is impermissible.”
Baijal, also the Chairman of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, made it clear that the Supreme Court has invariably held in several successive judgements that ‘Right to Health’ is an integral part of ‘Right to Life’ under Article 21 of the Constitution.
“In exercise of powers conferred under Section 18(3) of the Disaster Management Act, the undersigned in his capacity as the Chairperson of the DDMA, hereby directs all departments and authorities concerned of NCT of Delhi, to ensure that monitoring / treatment is not denied to any patient on the ground of not being a resident of NCT of Delhi,” the order said.
L-G Anil Baijal had also overruled AAP government’s order allowing COVID-19 test for only symptomatic patients.
Responding to the move, Arvind Kejriwal had on Monday said the L-G’s order has “created a major problem and challenge for Delhiites.”
Taking to Twitter, the chief minister said providing treatment to people coming from all the over country is a big challenge during COVID-19 pandemic.
Kejriwal, however, said the Delhi government will try to make arrangements to provide treatment to all those coming from outside the national capital.
“LG sahib’s order has created a huge problem and challenge for the people of Delhi. Providing treatment for people coming from all over the country during corona pandemic is a big challenge. May God bless us to serve the people of the country. We will try to provide treatment to all,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.
The Aam Aadmi Party had also reacted sharply to the L-G’s move, alleging that he had been pressured by the BJP which is doing “dirty politics” on the issue.
Delhi has witnessed a spurt in Coronavirus cases and over 1,000 new cases daily for the past few days. The national capital is currently the third worst Coronavirus-hit state with 31,309 cases and 905 deaths.
On Tuesday, Central officials had informed the Delhi government that there is no community transmission of Coronavirus in the capital 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.