NEW DELHI: Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday claimed the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the city were likely to reach 5.5 lakh by the end of July and at least 80,000 beds would be required to pro vide treatment to the residents of the city as well as those coming from other states.
Talking to reporters after acrucial meeting of the state disaster management authority, Sisodia said the doubling rate of Covid cases in the national capital was around 12-13 days.
As per the government’s estimates, there will be aro und 44,000 Covid-19 cases by June 15, one lakh by June 30, 2.25 lakh by July 15 and 5.5 lakh by July 31 while the number of beds required on these dates would be 6,600, 15,000, 33,000 and 80,000, respectively. Public health experts, however, pointed out that the doubling rate tends to fall as cases rise since the base gets progressively larger. The LG’s office said several ideas had been discussed, including using Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Thyagaraja Stadium, JLN Stadium and Pragati Maidan, apart from banquet halls and marriage places, to augment capacity.
Sisodia, who attended the meeting on behalf of CM Arvind Kejriwal, claimed he asked lieutenant governor Anil Baijal how he proposed to arrange 80,000 beds, and the latter said he “did not know”.
Sisodia also said that he asked the LG to reconsider his decision to overrule the government’s notification reserving state-run and private hospitals for the residents of Delhi but he refused to do it. Baijal’s office, however, said in a statement that the LG had reversed the order as it violated the constitutional rights of “equality and right to life” which "included right to health".
The statement added that a similar directive had been issued by Delhi government earlier to "discriminate in providing healthcare facilities" to patients based on their residence, which was stuck down by Delhi high court.
“It is the responsibility of the state to provide universal healthcare to all patients coming to hospitals in accordance with constitutional provisions. This was explained to the hon’ble deputy chief minister in today’s SDMA meeting. It is unfortunate that any responsible government should attempt to discriminate amongst patients on grounds of residence. Rather than discriminating between the patients the goal of the government should be to plan and prepare for adequate infrastructure. We are all Indians and Delhi belongs to all!" the statement read.
“Hon’ble LG also advised the officers concerned to invoke Section 50 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for expeditious procurement and timely setting up of the required infrastructure,” the statement said. The AAP government and LG have been at loggerheads since Monday when the latter overruled the CM's order to reserve private and state-run hospitals during the Covid-19 situation for the residents of Delhi.
Sisodia alleged that the LG, who is the chairperson of Delhi Disaster Management Authority, was forced by BJP to reverse the cabinet decision. Sisodia said the government’s predictions were based on the trend when the city borders were sealed due to the lockdown and only the residents of Delhi were coming for treatment.
“We asked the LG how many cases might increase in the coming days, how many patients may come from other states and the number of beds that will be required but he had no answers,” Sisodia claimed, adding that the data was presented to him to reconsider his decision.
The deputy CM reiterated that the decision of opening the hospitals for all will create a lot of problems for the people of Delhi. "If patients start coming to Delhi from outside and available beds get filled up within 2, 4, or 10 days who will take responsibility?" Sisodia asked.
"We will try our best to strengthen the health infrastructure and provide good treatment to people. We will ensure more beds, ventilators and related infrastructure." As per the Delhi government, 8,821 hospital beds, 582 ICU beds, 468 ventilators and 3,590 beds with oxygen support were currently available for Covid patients, 500 additional beds had been earmarked in staterun health facilities while a new hospital in Burari with 450 beds would be ready by June 20.
Another 2,000 beds are likely to be added by June 15 by linking more star hotels with hospitals. The government has also augmented the fleet of CATS ambulances to 450 from the earlier 160, reducing the response time to less than 30 minutes.