Union health minister Harsh Vardhan Thursday raised concerns about rising Covid cases and low testing levels in Delhi. He also urged the Arvind Kejriwal government to ramp-up testing and implement aggressive surveillance, contact tracing and containment measures.
ThePrint asks: Harsh Vardhan questions Delhi govt: Is Arvind Kejriwal failing in handling Covid-19 crisis?
BJP, Congress playing politics by using incorrect data by Centre-run hospitals like RML
AAP MLA and lawyer
The AAP government is handling Covid crisis in the most comprehensive and effective manner when compared to other states which are yet to come to Delhi’s stage. We still have 5,000 odd oxygen-attached hospital beds across the national capital. With each passing day, we are arranging more beds. We are converting schools into quarantine facilities, and attaching hotels to hospitals to increase the number of beds and expand the scope of healthcare.
The reason why there is so much confusion regarding the number of Covid cases and deaths in Delhi is because the Narendra Modi government-run hospitals like RML Hospital have been meddling with data. Using this, the BJP has been playing politics against the AAP government. Congress has jumped on the bandwagon too.
All AAP leaders and MLAs are out on the streets helping people. AAP leader Sanjay Singh, for instance helped transport 33 stranded workers from Delhi to Patna on a flight. While CM Kejriwal is busy personally monitoring every Covid-19 development in Delhi, the Modi government has provided no help — be it financially, morally or resource-wise. This is despite the fact that all seven MP seats in Delhi belong to the BJP.
BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh went to the extent of comparing Kejriwal to Covid which is mindless and highly irresponsible from a member of parliament.
AAP claims Delhi can handle 30,000 cases, but hospitals turning away critical Covid patients
Delhi BJP media co in-charge
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has failed the people of Delhi by providing incoherent facts about the spread of Covid-19 in Delhi. His television appearances create the illusion that the situation is under control. But the situation on the ground is very tense. Even the Delhi government’s new app for information about availability of hospital beds has not stopped hospitals from turning away people.
This week, a woman took her ailing Covid-suspected father to government-run LNJP hospital, but was denied admission and turned away by hospital authorities. He passed away the next day. This shows how the Kejriwal government is spreading false information at the cost of innocent lives. This is not a solitary incident, as there are many more untold stories. After a two month lockdown, how has the Delhi government improved its health infrastructure, if they are unable to handle critical cases like this? How can they be expected to take care of almost nearly 2 crore people in the national capital?
On 20 May , the Delhi government said they have 3,150 hospital beds for Covid patients. But then Kejriwal said they are prepared to treat 30,000 cases. Where is the transparency or clarity? I’d like to know what Arvind Kejriwal gains by hiding critical facts about the crisis. If it’s petty politics, he needs to stop it and instead work in full cooperation with the Centre.
AAP govt didn’t prepare enough quarantine facilities, now asking people to self-isolate at home
The Delhi government has been failing at handling the Covid-19 crisis. First, it is violating the WHO guidelines by not testing the dead. This adversely impacts tracing and tracking. Second, the guidelines for testing asymptomatic patients have also been tightened. Eight labs have been issued notices for allegedly “over testing”. Isn’t this strange, considering Delhi has the highest positivity per test ratio in India?
The AAP government sanctioned opening of liquor shops without any preparation, which resulted in large queues and violation of social distancing norms. It created an impression that the situation is under control and that the lockdown measures aren’t serious.
The Delhi government also didn’t prepare enough quarantine facilities, which is why they are now asking people to quarantine at home. The biggest worry is that a person could infect the rest of their family members — it’s rare for Delhi houses to have an attached bathroom for each room. Common bathrooms are a definite way to put other family members at risk.
In my opinion, at least half of 36 Delhi government hospitals should be dedicated for Covid-19 patients. Unfortunately, as of now, only five government hospitals and six private hospitals are treating Covid-19 patients.
Delhi govt’s inability to contain Covid, misreport data reflects the entire country’s failure
Dr KK Aggarwal
President, Confederation of Medical Association of Asia & former president, IMA
The Narendra Modi government, unfortunately, has not instated a national health emergency unit, which can draft specific policies and guidelines that can be followed by all states. If you’re going to let states manage the spread of Covid, they are bound to indulge in politics at the cost of human lives.
Delhi and Maharashtra governments’ failure to contain Covid-19 and misreport data is a reflection of the entire country’s failure. Furthermore, who is Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to decide guidelines, and pressure states to follow them? It should be the responsibility of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Kumar Jain are quarrelling over a petty issue and not asking the biggest question — why doesn’t India have a national policy to battle the coronavirus pandemic?
Inquiries about the conduct of RML Hospital are just a distraction from the larger picture. Covid-19 epicentres like Delhi and Mumbai have poor health facilities. With most Covid patients, the problem we are seeing is hypoxia — they don’t have enough oxygen to breathe. But ventilators are scarce in these cities, leading to people being turned away.
I suspect that once Covid-19 reaches every nook and cranny of India, only then it will be perceived as a problem that cannot be fought at the state-level alone, but one that requires national cooperation and guidance.
By Pia Krishnankutty, journalist at ThePrint