Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said Delhi will receive central help to increase testing and will also be provided aid to improve contact tracing and address bed shortage after a meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to review the coronavirus situation in the national capital.
The meeting comes in the wake of increasing number of cases in Delhi, where the tally has reached nearly 39,000 cases and the death toll rose to over 1,200. There have been criticism from different quarters over the handling of COVID-19 cases in the capital, with complaints of non-availability of beds in hospitals for patients and difficulty in getting the tests done in laboratories.
Here are some of the key decisions taken at the meeting:
- Testing rates for coronavirus to be doubled in the next two days and tripled in six days
- After a few days, testing will be started at every polling station in containment zones.
- Delhi will be given 500 railway coaches to address the shortage of beds for coronavirus patients.
- A committee has been formed to fix low treatment and testing rates for 60 per cent coronavirus patients in private hospitals. The panel will submit its report by Monday.
- Door-to-door survey of all houses in Delhi’s containment zones to be conducted
- Centre’s Aarogya Setu app for contact tracing to be made mandatory in containment zones
- Five more senior officers of the Centre will be deputed to Delhi government to help in the fight against coronavirus.
- Centre has assured the Delhi government it will meet the necessary resources like oxygen cylinders, ventilators, pulse oximeters and all other requirements to fight this epidemic.
- The government has decided to release new guidelines for funerals, which will reduce the waiting period.
CM Kejriwal after the meeting described it as extremely productive. "Many key decisions taken. We will fight against coronavirus together," Kejriwal tweeted.
A government officials said the meeting was focused on how to tackle the pandemic in Delhi, availability of hospital beds, testing facilities and improvements of other heath infrastructure, and there was no talk of imposing a fresh lockdown.
Before the meeting, the Delhi government announced plans to set up additional 20,000 beds for Covid-19 patients within a week by turning hotels and banquet halls into makeshift facilities and designating nursing homes with 10-49 beds as ‘Covid nursing homes’.
Apart from Shah, Baijal and Kejriwal, those who attended the meeting included Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, members of the State Disaster Management Authority and senior officers from the Home and Health ministries.
The home minister has also called a separate meeting in the evening with the mayors of Delhi's three municipal corporations -- North, South and East -- and commissioners of the civic bodies to discuss the coronavirus situation in the capital.