Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called an all-party meeting on Thursday to discuss a strategy for COVID-19 management and containment in Delhi, where cases have been spiralling since October-end.
The meeting is likely to be attended by BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party legislators, and will be held at 11am in the Delhi Secretariat.
The all-party Covid meeting has been called amid a third coronavirus wave, which saw record spike of 8,000 cases last week. The increase in infections this month came with a rise in the number of COVID-19 patients exhibiting severe symptoms, and hospitals running out ICU beds.
Delhi has added one lakh cases since November 1 and the number is likely to increase further as the city’s positivity rate is at 14 per cent – more than three times the national average of 4 per cent.
To assess the Covid readiness of city’s healthcare facilities, Mr Kejriwal visited the GTB Hospital today.
“Over the next few days, the Delhi government will increase 663 ICU beds in its state-run hospitals; from Friday, 238 extra beds would be added in the GTB hospital. The Central government has assured it would ready 750 ICU beds in the DRDO Hospital. With this, Delhi would have an additional 1,413 beds in intensive care units across the city reducing the existing shortage to some extent,” the Delhi Chief Minister said.
Our doctors have managed very well despite the huge spike, he tweeted.
On Monday, Home Minister Amit Shah met Mr Kejriwal to discuss Delhi’s Covid strategy in the backdrop of a central government report indicating the daily coronavirus infections could increase to 15,000.
In the days since, the central government has pulled in more doctors, paramedics, rushed in ventilators and started boosting the capital city’s health infrastructure, including Covid sample testing facilities.
The state government on its part has reduced the number of people allowed to attend weddings to 50 from the earlier 200, and proposed temporary closure of some markets if all else fails.
Though the Arvind Kejriwal-led government has said another lockdown was out of the question for Delhi, local restrictions could be imposed in some busy areas to keep them from becoming hotspots.
“Maximum tests are being conducted which will be further increased. The virus can easily spread due to large gatherings during Chhath Puja, hence the restrictions,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Wednesday.
The city has been conducting an average of 60,000 tests a day since September, but this will now be increased to 1.2 lakh with 60,000 RT-PCR tests, and increased door-to-door Covid surveillance.