New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said his government will implement the “Centre’s decision” and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s order overturning the decision on reservation of state-run and private hospitals in the national capital for Delhiites as “this is not the time for disagreement and arguments”.
Addressing an online media briefing, he said his government has “unprecedented challenges” ahead as data shows that COVID-19 cases will rapidly increase in Delhi in the coming days.
Delhi will need 1.5 lakh beds in healthcare facilities by July 31 once people start coming to the city for treatment from other states, Kejriwal said, asserting that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation will make an “honest effort” to provide medical treatment to all.
The chief minister said of the 1.5 lakh beds, it is estimated that 80,000 will be required for Delhiites, adding that the calculation is based on numbers that show 50 per cent of the beds in hospitals in the national capital were occupied by those from other states before the coronavirus pandemic.
Some people on television channels are saying that the Centre and the LG do not have any power to turn down the decision of an elected government, which was formed following a huge mandate, Kejriwal said.
“However, we will implement the Centre’s decision and LG’s order in letter and spirit because this is not the time for disagreement and arguments. I want to send a message to those sitting in the government and political parties that it will be implemented.
“This is not the time to do politics. All of us have to fight together and defeat COVID-19,” he said, adding that in the coming days, he himself will step out to supervise the preparations to convert hotels and banquet halls into healthcare facilities.
On Tuesday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi will explode to 5.5 lakh by July-end.
At the media briefing, Kejriwal requested the state governments to ramp up their medical infrastructure so that most people do not need to come to Delhi for better treatment.
The chief minister urged Delhiites to make three things “a mass movement” — wearing masks, following social distancing and washing hands.
“COVID-19 cases are increasing very fast. We have to protect ourselves. If somebody is not following these three norms, we have to request him or her with folded hands to do these things as of all of us had done during the implementation of odd-even rules,” he said.
Kejriwal said 31,000 coronavirus cases have so far been reported in Delhi and of these, 18,000 are active. Around 15,000 COVID-19 patients are being treated in home isolation, he added.
According to the chief minister, around 1,900 COVID-19 patients got beds in hospitals in the last eight days and there are still 42,00 vacant beds, a claim that comes in the backdrop of people facing a shortage of beds in healthcare facilities.
He thanked the media for highlighting the discrepancy in the system and requested it to continue to do so.
Kejriwal, who went into self-quarantine till Tuesday evening after developing fever and a sore throat, thanked people for wishing him a speedy recovery, adding that he was feeling well now.
The chief minister underwent the COVID-19 test on Tuesday morning and his results came negative.
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.