Coronavirus: How Delhi government plans to ready healthcare infrastructure?
Coronavirus cases in Delhi will reach 5.5 lakh by July end and 80,000 beds will be required, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced on Tuesday while taking into account the doubling rate. To deal with this spurt, L-G Anil Baijal directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to ready health infrastructure on war-footing. Now, the government plans to increase beds in 22 private hospitals.
Until Monday night, Delhi recorded 1,007 fresh COVID-19 cases and 62 deaths. Surprisingly, the government didn't release the health bulletin on Tuesday. Last week, the AAP government said till the time the pandemic crisis doesn't subside, state-run and private hospitals would only treat Delhi residents. The order was overturned by Baijal, triggering a reaction from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that Delhi's residents could suffer.
Addressing reporters after yesterday's crucial meeting, Sisodia said Baijal didn't lay a plan to help the overwhelmed healthcare system, much to AAP's discontent. Meanwhile, as per the party's calculation, Delhi needs thousands of beds in just 52 days. To achieve the same, beds will be more than doubled in private facilities like Apollo, Batra, Fortis, Max, BL Kapoor, Maharaja Agrasen, and Venkateswara, said reports.
These aforementioned hospitals currently have 1,441 beds for COVID-19 patients and with this development, they would be increased to 3,456. Reports suggested the government plans to take the bed count to 11,842 by June 20. Besides this, a government panel, headed by Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Khirwar, also recommended to Baijal that stadiums should be turned into makeshift hospitals to tackle the surge.
The stadiums that could be turned into temporary hospitals are Talkatora Indoor Stadium, Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium, Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, and Dhyanchand National Stadium. Further, the state government has also reportedly tied eight upscale hotels to major hospitals, capping the cost of beds at Rs. 10,000/day. This cost includes housekeeping and food. The medical services are the responsibility of the respective hospitals.
While Delhi is already facing a shortage of beds, it will also soon run out of viral transport mediums (VTMs). This equipment is required for collecting and transporting test samples. Delhi's stock of 12,000 VTMs will last just 10 days. A senior official said Delhi can't be blamed for this alone as the entire nation is dealing with the same problem.
"One of the reasons why testing was being carried out in a restricted manner is also the shortage of VTMs. When there is a shortage of product, we have to rationalize its use," a government official, who chose to remain anonymous, told HT.