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Crematoriums Full, More Children Infected: Delhi's Health Infrastructure Gasps as Covid Touches Record

For representation.  (PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore) (

For representation. (PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore) (

The high infections in Delhi has prompted CM Arvind Kejriwal to call a meeting with Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday during which measures to curb the virus spread are expected to be discussed.

Covid cases are rising exponentially in the national capital with cases reaching record high due to infectious strain of coronavirus. Delhi on Wednesday recorded the biggest single-day jump in its COVID-19 tally with 17,282 new cases, while over 100 people died.

Amid the rising infections, there is shortage of health infrastructure for the increasing number of patients. “There are no ICU beds available in most big hospitals, both public or private. There is no sign of the outbreak ebbing either,” a senior doctor at AIIMS told Times of India.

The doctor added that at this speed, Delhi’s health infrastructure may collapse.

The high infections in the national capital has prompted Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to call a meeting with Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday during which measures to curb the virus spread are expected to be discussed. Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that Covid-19 cases are rising very rapidly in the national capital and “there is no slowdown".

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Delhi currently has 50,736 active cases out of which almost half of them are under home quarantine. Reports say that there are 163 ventilator beds available across Delhi, while the beds without a ventilator is 452.

“AIIMS Trauma Centre is running full. We have started a new ward in the burns ward and that too is almost full. We plan to add a few more beds,” Dr Rajesh Malhotra, chief of the centre reportedly said. He added that many young patients aged 45 years or les were getting admitted with severe symptoms.

Meanwhile the Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital has run out of ventilator beds. Private hospitals including Sir Ganga Ram, VIMHANS, Holy Family, Batra and Manipal have no ventilator beds available anymore. Many families also complained about the unavailability of Remdesivir.

“People aren’t getting beds in hospitals. That’s why even those with moderate to severe symptoms are being managed at home through tele and video consultation. There should be some mechanism to avail the necessary medications for such patients,” a doctor said.

Covid Catching young

Hospitals in the city say that they are getting infants as young as eight months old with severe symptoms of Covid including persistent fever and pneumonia. Earlier it was believed that the Covid was harmless and moderate to severe symptoms were rare.

“We have eight children admitted to the hospital with severe symptoms of Covid-19 presently. One of them is eight months old. The others are less than 12 years in age. They have high fever, pneumonia, dehydration and loss of taste, among others,” Dr Suresh, medical directors of Lok Nayak Hospital reportedly said.

At Ganga Ram Hospital, doctors say the children had to be admitted due to Covid-19. Dr Dhiren Gupta, senior paediatrician says that he is getting 20-30 calls everyday for tele and video consultation from families of children affected from Covid.

Crematoriums and Graveyards Struggle with Rising Deaths

The number of cremations at Delhi’s Nigambodh Ghat have gone up from 15 per day to over 30 as COVID-19-related deaths in Delhi continue to rise. Delhi recorded 104 deaths due to coronavirus on Wednesday, the highest since November 20.

The highest single-day spike in Delhi till the third wave of the pandemic — 8,593 cases — was reported on November 11 in 2020, while on November 18, the city had recorded 131 COVID-19 deaths, the highest single-day fatality count till date.

“We arrived here at 8:30 am. Our turn has not come yet. The situation is very bad. Two-three dead bodies are being brought in each ambulance," 27-year-old Gautam who lost his grandfather reportedly said.

Gautam had to wait for five hours but the funeral had not been performed due to lack of space at the cremation facility.

According to official figure on confirmed and suspected cases, the virus has killed 513 people in Delhi in the first 14 days of April, while it had claimed 117 lives in the entire month of March and 57 in February.

This substantial rise in the fatality rate has led to a rush of bodies at the city’s crematoriums and burial grounds. Mashqoor Rashid, a member of the management committee of the graveyard at ITO, said the bodies of COVID-19 patients were being sent there from across the city as local cemeteries are getting overwhelmed.

However, Amantullah Khan, the chairman of Delhi Waqf Board which runs several graveyards in the city, said there was no scarcity of land for burials so far. “We have enough land for burials." North Delhi mayor Jai Prakash said he has written a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking his help for arranging land for burials. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will discuss the coronavirus situation in the city with the LG during a meeting Thursday, the CM’s office said.

“In view of the spread of Covid-19 infection, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal will discuss the situation with Lieutenant Governor at 11 am on Wednesday," the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted. Meanwhile, the central government on Wednesday cancelled the CBSE’s class 10 board exams and postponed its class 12 exams following an exponential surge in COVID-19 cases, a decision that will affect over 21 lakh students across the country.

This is the first time that the Central Board of Secondary Education has completely cancelled the board exams conducted by it. Last year, the exams were partially cancelled in the wake of riots in northeast Delhi and COVID-19 cases. The decision on Wednesday was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Talking to reporters at his residence, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said, “Yesterday, Delhi recorded 13,468 cases and we conducted about 1.2 lakh tests too. The numbers are rapidly rising and rising every day, and there is no slow down in the spread of infection. So, I will advise people to step out only if urgent and needed," he told reporters here. Jain said 70-80 patients are being admitted daily to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.

On Tuesday, the positivity rate rose to 13.14 percent from 12.44 percent a day ago. A total of 1,08,534 tests, including 73,915 RT-PCR tests and 34,619 rapid antigen tests, were conducted a day ago, according to the latest health bulletin.

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first published:April 15, 2021, 09:38 IST