Testing for coronavirus will be significantly increased in Delhi over the next one week, union home minister Amit Shah and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal decided at a meeting held to review the handling of the pandemic in the national capital on Sunday.
In a series of tweets after the meeting, Shah announced a series of decisions taken at the meeting, including doubling of testing immediately in the next two days and tripling it in the next six days.
The decision was taken at the meeting that was also attended by Delhi L-G Anil Baijal, Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, health minister Satyendra Jain and AIIMS director Dr Randeep Gulleria along with other senior officers.
Apart from ramping up testing overall, a key focus area will be containment zones, where testing will be made available in polling booths in the next week. House to house surveys will also be conducted in these high-risk areas to improve contact tracing and the report will be submitted in a week.
The Centre’s contact tracing app Aarogya Setu will be compulsory in phones of all residents in these containment zones to improve contact tracing.
The meeting also saw decisions taken to improve the Capital’s overwhelmed medical infrastructure as the Centre said it will provide 500 railway coaches with 8,000 beds for coronavirus patients.
These will be equipped with all resources needed. The Centre will also provide ventilators, oximeters, oxygen cylinders to Delhi government to spruce up infrastructure in hospitals.
Apart from this, the Centre has also said that 60 per cent of all beds in private hospitals will be made available at reduced rates. A committee headed by Dr VK Paul will look at the issue of treatment rates and price of testing in private hospitals, and will submit its report by Monday.
The decisions taken at the meeting address some of the key complaints that have been raised against the Kejriwal’s government handling of the health crisis.
There have been several complaints of non-availability of beds in hospitals for patients and difficulty in getting the tests done in laboratories. The contact tracing in Delhi has also lagged behind other states.
To oversee the response in Delhi, the Centre has also deputed five senior officers from to help Delhi government tide over the crisis. Along with this, five senior doctors from AIIMS will form a tele-guidance committee to hand hold smaller hospitals which have been converted into Covid-19 hospitals.
The government has also decided to deploy NSS, NCC, scouts and guides cadet as volunteers to make up for any shortage in healthcare staff.
After the meeting, union home minister Amit Shah said the Centre is committed to mount a consolidated fight back to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Delhi.
Delhi Chief Minister expressed hope that these decisions will prove significant in reducing the Covid-19 spread. "Extremely productive meeting between Delhi government and Central government. Many key decisions taken. We will fight against corona together," he said.
Officials said coordinated efforts will be emphasised by the HM in his meeting with the Delhi mayors too this evening.
The home minister also announced that the government has also decided to release fresh guidelines for funerals to reduce waiting time as is being faced by relatives of Covid-19 deceased right now.
A joint committee of central and state government’s health department, AIIMS directors and municipal officers will visit Covid-19 hospitals and submit a report on the status there.