As Delhi prepares to ramp up testing for the coronavirus infection, Heath Minister Satyendar Jain on Monday said laboratory facilities under the Centre in the national capital are being extended to the city government.
Interacting with reporters, he also asserted that Delhi was doing "maximum testing earlier" and will continue to do more testing with whatever resources are at its disposal.
"As far as increasing of testing capacity is concerned, in Delhi most of the lab facilities are under the Centre, so those are being extended to us," he said.
The Delhi government had designated 42 labs for carrying out COVID-19 tests.
Asked about the high-level meeting on Sunday with Union Minister Amit Shah, he said the meeting was "very fruitful".
"The main outcome of it was that Centre and Delhi government will be working together to fight COVID-19 in the national capital," Jain said.
The meeting was held to discuss the recent spurt in coronavirus cases in the city, and attended by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Delhi recorded 2,224 coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest single-day spike here taking the COVID-19 tally in the city to over 41,000-mark, and the death toll due to the disease mounted to 1,327, authorities said.
Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev on Sunday also met senior officials through a video link and discussed how to ramp up the testing facilities to 10,000 in next two days, and to have 100 per cent house-to-house survey in containment zones and other points pursuant to directions of the Union Home Ministry.
Jain, when asked why the decision to have COVID beds in small nursing homes, was withdrawn, said, "Initially, we thought this would increase further our dedicated beds for COVID patients. But then dengue and malaria season is approaching, and many of these nursing homes are located in dense localities, so we withdrew the order".
On PWD's preparations ahead of the monsoon, he said, drains are being desilted. On the decision to acquire properties for installation of more beds for treatment of COVID-19 patients, Jain said trains, banquet halls, and other properties will be used as the extensions of the hospitals for the treatment of less serious patients, and more serious patients will be treated in hospitals.
"We have around 45 per cent of beds available even today. More than the cases, the real question is how many beds do we need for the treatment of the patients. We are making all necessary arrangements as per the planning," he said.
On the question of whether there is a community spread in Delhi, given in the last three days over 2,000 cases were reported every day, Jain said, "There is no need to go into technicalities."
"There is a coronavirus situation in Delhi, and this virus spreads in big cities where there are close community areas. We are taking strong action against this outbreak, and that is how we are able to treat the people infected with the virus," he added.
Asked about imposing penalty on people for not wearing masks or following social distancing, the Delhi heath minister said, it was "absolutely necessary".
"Some people think it was not required, and they think they can spit anywhere, but they will only learn if a penalty is imposed on them," he said.