New Delhi: In a high-level meeting to review Delhi’s response to the surging cases of Covid-19, Home Minister Amit Shah announced Sunday that testing in the capital will be doubled in the next two days and three times in the next six days.
“In order to contain the spread of the virus, in the next two days, testing will increase by two times and after six days testing will be further increased by three times. After a few days, each containment zone will have a testing facility at their polling stations,” Shah said in a statement.
The meeting, chaired by Shah, was attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Lieutenant General of Delhi Anil Baijal, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria, among others.
Addressing the lack of beds for coronavirus patients in the capital, Shah announced that 500 railway coaches will be converted to wards and this will increase the number of beds available by 8,000.
These coaches will be well-equipped with all the required facilities, noted Shah.
The meeting comes amid a spike in Covid-19 infections in the national capital. With 38,958 cases, Delhi is the third highest in the country after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
This is the second meeting between Shah and Kejriwal in less than a week on the pandemic.
Beds and tests at reasonable rates in private hospitals
A committee has also been formed under Niti Aayog member Dr V.K. Paul to ensure that private hospitals charge reasonable rates for Covid-19 tests, treatment and 60 per cent of their beds.
“For treatment of Covid-19 in Delhi’s private hospitals, and to ensure that 60 percent of the beds in private hospitals are available at reasonable rates and treatment and testing rate is regulated and fixed, a committee under leadership of Dr V.K. Paul has been set up,” Shah tweeted.
दिल्ली के निजी अस्पताओं में कोरोना संक्रमण के इलाज के लिए निजी अस्पतालों के कोरोना बेड में से 60% बेड कम रेट में उपलब्ध कराने, कोरोना उपचार व कोरोना की टेस्टिंग के रेट तय करने के लिए डॉ. पॉल की अध्यक्षता में एक कमेटी बनाई गयी है जो कल तक अपनी रिपोर्ट प्रस्तुत करेगी।
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) June 14, 2020
A report by the committee with all these details will be submitted Monday, he added.
Doctors with the health ministry, AIIMS, Delhi government’s health department and the three Municipal Corporations have also been asked to prepare a joint report after visiting all hospitals in Delhi, regarding the arrangements and preparedness in the hospitals that are fighting against the coronavirus infections, a source from the home ministry revealed.
According to another key decision in the meeting, a committee of senior doctors will be formed, who will ensure that correct procedures and guidelines are conveyed and communicated to smaller hospitals through telephone.
A helpline number will be issued Monday in this matter, tweeted Shah.
Proper Contact Mapping
To ensure proper contact mapping, both the central and the Delhi government have decided that a detailed survey of every individual in containment zones will be carried out.
This survey will include details of the person’s symptoms, where he/she went in the past seven to 14 days, and who all he/she came in contact with, the MHA source said.
A report of every individual will then be made and submitted.
“The report of this survey will come within one week and will help identify and monitor patients more effectively,” the source said.
“For closer monitoring, each individual will be asked to download the Aarogya Setu application,” he added.
Other key decisions
The central government has decided to depute five senior officers to assist the Delhi government in fighting the pandemic effectively.
The Modi government will also help the Delhi government with essentials like oxygen cylinders, ventilators and pulse oximeters.
Sources in the MHA noted that a new set of guidelines for cremations are being worked out to ensure that it does not take long to hand over and cremate bodies.
The government has also decided to recruit Scout guides, National Cadet Corps (NCC) and National Service Scheme (NSS) as volunteers in health services.
Second meeting with mayors of municipal bodies
Shah held a second meeting during the day which was attended by the mayors of Delhi’s three municipal corporations. He directed both central and state governments, as well as the municipal bodies to ensure proper implementation of the decisions taken earlier in the day, especially those on house-to-house survey and increased testing.
He also directed the Delhi Police commissioner to ensure all guidelines are enforced strictly.
The primary aim of the second meeting, said Shah, was to win the fight against Covid-19 through mutual coordination.
Following directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs, AIIMS-Delhi has set up a 24×7 Covid-19 helpline in both English and Hindi. Callers can now take OPD appointments, talk to volunteers, etc by dialing 9115444155.
The health ministry has also directed that the bodies of suspected Covid-19 cases in Delhi will now be handed over to relatives immediately, without waiting for a lab confirmation.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.