NEW DELHI :
Tests for covid-19 in Delhi will be doubled by Tuesday and tripled in the next six days (from Sunday), Union home minister Amit Shah said on Sunday after a meeting with state and Union ministers to try and contain the spread of coronavirus in the national capital.
The government will also conduct a door-to-door survey and deploy 500 train coaches to increase bed capacity, Shah said.
The home minister held a meeting with Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. Later in the day, he also held a meeting with the heads of municipal corporations about their preparedness.
Shah called for an all-party meeting of Delhi leaders on Monday to discuss the management of covid-19 in the capital, amid growing allegations over patients being denied tests and admission beds.
Delhi has the third highest number of cases in the country at approximately 40,000 cases and this figure is likely to jump to 100,000 by June-end and 550,000 by July-end, according to government estimates.
The administration would need an estimated 80,000 more hospital beds by the end of July. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has been aiming to attach hotels to hospitals, convert nursing homes into dedicated covid-19 hospitals, and even use banquet halls for treating patients.
Delhi has about 10,000 beds dedicated for the treatment of covid-19 patients, but 70% of the beds in private hospitals are already occupied.
“To prevent corona infection in Delhi, the testing of corona will be increased to two fold in the next two days and after 6 days the testing will be increased to three times. Also, after a few days, testing will be started at every polling station in containment zones,” Shah said in a series of tweets.
The state government has conducted 283,239 tests since the start of the crisis. There are approximately 23,000 total active cases in the national capital. The government had been facing criticism over allowing the daily testing numbers to decline.
“Extremely productive meeting between Delhi government and central government. Many key decisions taken. We will fight against corona together,” Kejriwal said on Twitter after the meeting.
The Union government will provide 500 railway coaches, in view of the shortage of beds, which will increase the bed capacity by 8,000, Shah said. A comprehensive house-to-house health survey will be conducted to improve contact mapping in Delhi’s containment zone, and the report will be out in a week.
“For the treatment of corona infection in private hospitals, a committee has been formed to look into providing 60% of the corona beds in private hospitals at a low rate, to fix corona treatment and corona testing. It will submit its report by (Monday),” Shah said.
The central government will also release new guidelines for funerals of those who die from covid-19. To meet the shortage of volunteers in health services, scouts, guides, and National Cadet Corps will be added to the list of volunteers.
“The central government has assured the government of Delhi that it will provide necessary resources such as oxygen cylinders, ventilators, pulse oximeters and all other requirements to fight this epidemic. The Aarogya Setu app will be downloaded in every person’s mobile,” Shah said.