Delhi cites zero requirement of test kits, oxygen tanks: Report
The Delhi government has cited zero fresh requirement of new testing kits, laboratories, pediatric ICU beds, and liquid oxygen storage tanks, News18 reported. This was revealed in the city government's proposal to the Centre for procuring funds under the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package (ECRP-2). The ECRP-2 has been introduced in view of a possible third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The emergency package was announced in the Parliament in July with a Rs. 23,000 crore budget. The central government has said it would bear 60% of the cost (Rs. 14,774 crore) while the remaining would be brought in by states. Based on the proposals from states, the Centre approved Rs. 14,774 crore on Friday and has since released 50% of that amount to states.
As per the proposals accessed by News18, Delhi has cited no requirement of the aforementioned equipment as well as personnel involved in COVID-19 management. However, it remains unclear if it would procure these items from its 40% quota of ECRP-2 or has already made sufficient arrangements. The capital city has been allocated Rs. 50.34 crore out of the Rs. 14,774 crore by the Centre.
Meanwhile, other states and union territories have cited needs under these heads. For example, Uttar Pradesh has sought 7.4 crore new testing kits, 30 more testing labs, 1,240 ambulances, and nearly 4,700 pediatric ICU beds. Smaller UTs have also cited such requirements. Andaman and Nicobar Islands, for instance, said it would need six lakh new testing kits, two new testing labs, and 75 beds.
To recall, Delhi had faced an acute shortage of hospital beds, medical oxygen, and ambulances amid India's devastating second wave of the pandemic. Many people ran from pillar to post in order to secure these basic needs, at times, paying as much as 10 times the price. Hospitals flagged oxygen shortage on a daily basis while dozens lost their lives due to it.
India had faced a ferocious coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, reporting lakhs of cases and thousands of deaths daily. The situation has since improved, with the country averaging 40,000 daily cases for the past several weeks. India has partially vaccinated 30.5% of the population and nearly 9% have been fully inoculated. However, experts warn a third wave of the pandemic could hit India soon.