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'Don't Wait for Lab Confirmation': Centre's New Protocol for Deceased Patients Amid Sharp Rise in Delhi's Covid-19 Tally

Representative image.

Representative image.

Elaborating on the project, Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the doctors would be available in the facility 24X7 and to keep it operational 24 hours.

New Delhi: Hour after Union home minister Amit Shah and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal met mayors of the national capital, the Centre on Sunday issued a new protocol directing authorities to hand over the bodies of suspected coronavirus patients to their relatives "without waiting for laboratory confirmation and disposing it off as per Health ministry's guidelines".

"In compliance with orders of @HMOIndia @AmitShah, @MoHFW_INDIA directs that bodies of suspected #COVID19 cases be handed over to relatives immediately without waiting for lab. confirmation; bodies to be disposed of with precaution as per Health Min guidelines dated 15.03.2020," Home ministry spokesperson tweeted.

A helpline number — 9115444155 — has also been issued for Covid-19 patients. People can call on the number to take OPD appointments, talk to volunteers, while doctors can talk to consultants on this number. "The national Teleconsultation ceneter (CoNTeC) aims to connect doctors across the country to AIIMS Delhi in real time," a statement from health ministry read.

The initiative has been taken as a part of project CoNTeC, an acronym for Covid-19 National Teleconsultation Centre, that has been conceptualised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and has been implemented by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

Elaborating on the project, Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the doctors would be available in the facility 24X7 and to keep it operational 24 hours. The boarding and lodging facility is also made available for the doctors manning it, he added.

Four new officers have also been deputed from the Centre to Delhi government. While Awanish Kumar and Monica Priyadarshii have been brought in from Andaman and Nicobar, Gaurav Rajawat and Vikram Singh Mali will arrive in the national capital from Arunanchal Pradesh. Senior IAS officers SCL Das and SS Yadav will also move from Centre to the state to assist AAP government in Covid-19 fight.

Earlier, Shah had tweeted that all the decisions have been arrived at in consultation with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and L-G Baijal. He also asked the mayors to ensure cooperation and coordination between all agencies in the fight against coronavirus in Delhi.

The home minister convened two back-to-back high level meetings where Baijal and Kejriwal were present. The meetings took place on a day when Delhi recorded 2,224 new Covid-19 infections in the highest single-day spike taking the tally to 41,182. The death toll mounted to 1,327 with 56 more fatalities, according to the Delhi Health department.

It is for the third successive day that over 2,000 cases were reported in a day in Delhi. The national capital is the third worst hit state after Maharashtra (1,07,958) and Tamil Nadu (44,661), according to data from the three states.

After a meeting with Baijal and Kejriwal, Shah said the Centre will also provide the Delhi government necessary resources like oxygen cylinders, ventilators and pulse oximeters.

The measures announced on Sunday came two days after the Supreme Court tore into the Delhi government over the 'deplorable' state of affairs" at its hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients and also decreased testing, calling the situation in the national capital "horrendous, horrific and pathetic".

In view of shortage of beds for coronavirus patients in Delhi, the Modi government has decided to immediately provide 500 railway coaches which will be equipped with all facilities, the home minister said. The number of beds is set to be increased by 8,000 with the provision of railway coaches.

Shah and Vardhan were asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday to plan a coordinated and comprehensive response to handle the challenge posed by rising cases of Covid-19.