Covid-19: Centre to provide 500 railway coaches to Delhi govt amid bed shortage

4 months ago 26
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NEW DELHI: In a decisive intervention by the Centre to augment Delhi government's response to Covid-19 challenge, home minister Amit Shah announced a slew of measures to ramp up health infrastructure in the state by converting 500 railway coaches into fully-equipped Covid care centres with a total 8,000-bed capacity; getting private hospitals to offer 60% of beds earmarked for Covid-19 patients at lesser rates to be fixed by a Central government committee; and increasing testing to three times in the next six days.
At an "emergency" meeting chaired by home minister Amit Shah here on Sunday to review the worsening Covid-19 situation in Delhi and chalk out preventive measures and containment strategies -- attended by Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi LG Anil Baijal and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal -- the projections of how the cases would grow over the next two months were discussed in detail. Accordingly, the meeting laid down an immediate and comprehensive road-map that seeks to closely monitor the emerging infections by ramping up testing and aggressive contact tracing in containment zones, stepping up beds capacity by offering railway coaches for the purpose, Central reinforcement of resources like oxygen cylinders and ventilators ; releasing new guidelines for funerals that will reduce the waiting period; and augmenting corona frontline warriors capacity by roping in scout guides, NCC and NSS volunteers and NGOs.
Stating that the Modi government was committed to containing the spread of Covid-19 in the national Capital, Shah listed the key decisions taken at the meeting in a series of tweets soon after the meeting. He said that the Centre has decided to help Delhi government in dealing with the shortage of beds by immediately making available 500 railway coaches -- fully equipped with all facilities to fight coronavirus infections -- that would add 8,000 beds to the Delhi health infrastructure.
In view of citizens complaining of private hospitals overcharging the already distressed Covid-19 patients, the Centre has constituted a committee under Dr Vinod Paul, NITI member and convenor of empowered group of medical emergency management plan, to ensure that 60% of the hospital beds earmarked for Covid-19 patients in private hospitals are available at lesser rates and also fix rates for Covid-19 testing and treatment. The committee will submit its report on Monday.
Another key takeaway from the meeting is that testing for Covid-19 will be increased to two-fold in the next two days and to three times after 6 days. "After a few days, testing will be started at every polling station in the containment zone," said Shah. Also, for better contact-mapping in Delhi's containment zones, a comprehensive health survey of every person will be done house to house, the report of which will be submitted in a week. For good monitoring, aarogya setu app will be downloaded in every such person's mobile.
To provide correct information and guidelines to small hospitals treating Covid-19 patients, the Centre will constitute a committee of senior doctors in AIIMS, Delhi for telephonic guidance. In this way, Shah said, the best systems and procedures will be communicated right to the bottom rung. The helpline number will be released on Monday.
In view of Supreme Court's adverse observations against the Delhi government on handling of bodies of dead Corona patients, the Centre will be releasing new guidelines for funerals of positive patients, which will reduce the waiting period for the funeral. "India is fighting strongly with Corona and the government is sad and sensitive to the families which have lost their loved ones to this infection," Shah tweeted on Sunday.
Stating that the country was fighting coronavirus with full vigilance and cooperation "under Modi's leadership", Shah said many voluntary organizations were doing excellent work in supplementing the government efforts. "The government has decided to add scout guides, NCC, NSS and other NGOs as volunteers in health services," said the home minister. He added that the Centre has assured Delhi government of full help in meeting necessary requirements like oxygen cylinders, ventilators, pulse oximeters and all other requirements to fight the pandemic. The Central Government has also offered five more senior officers of the Government of India to the Government of Delhi to prevent and fight Covid-19 spread in Delhi.
Kejriwal, in a tweet after the meeting, stated: "Extremely productive meeting between Delhi government and Central government. Many key decisions taken. We will fight corona together".
Shah said that the health departments of both the Centre and Delhi government, apart from all the concerned departments and experts, have been instructed to ensure that all the decisions made at the meeting are implemented in letter and spirit.

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