Delhi Lt Guv may rope in experts for help to ramp up beds for Covid-19 patients

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Lt Governor Anil Baijal is learnt to have favoured setting up an expert panel for a quick but detailed prognosis of the coronavirus disease in national capital Delhi to get a clearer picture of its spread over the next few weeks and months.

Baijal also wants the experts to guide how the city could rapidly ramp up beds available for Covid-19 patients without compromising on the quality of medical care to patients, people familiar with the development told Hindustan Times.

Baijal’s push to seek expert advice comes after a panel set up by the Arvind Kejriwal government indicated that the city’s Covid-19 count could exceed 5 lakh by July 31.

The state’s health department has estimated that the city would need 80,000 beds to treat serious patients by the end of July. Patients who have mild symptoms are advised to isolate themselves at home.

In contrast, Delhi has all of nearly 58,000 hospital beds in the government and private sector.

As on Tuesday, Delhi had 8,892 hospital beds for Covid-19 patients, 582 ICU beds, 507 ventilators beds and 3,590 oxygenated-supported beds in Covid-designated hospitals.

The Aam Aadmi Party government had appointed an expert panel in the early stages of the coronavirus disease. The worst-case scenario that this panel had asked the government to prep for was 1,000 new Covid-19 cases every day.

Some experts have told the government that the city could expect twice as many cases next week.

It was on account of concerns around the projected spike in Covid-19 cases that Arvind Kejriwal’s cabinet had attempted to shut the doors of the city government’s hospitals to patients from outside Delhi.

That order was, however, overruled by Anil Baijal who cited Supreme Court rulings that right to health is an integral part of right to life.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodi had severely criticised the Lt Governor for this decision yesterday. Today, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a video statement that his government would completely abide by Anil Baijal’s decision and moved ahead to battle Covid-19.

Baijal has, to help patients running around searching for hospital beds, already told Chief Secretary Vijay Dev on Wednesday to issue orders to all hospitals to install an electronic dashboard at the entrance that would list the occupied and available beds for Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients. The dashboard, which would have to be updated in real time, would also feed hospital beds data to a central control unit to be set up in the Divisional Commissioner’s office.

The government had earlier required hospitals to set up flex board at the entrance that would ask patients to download the Delhi Corona mobile app or check the website, www.delhifightscorona.in/beds, set up by the government to check availability of beds.

But there have been many complaints that hospitals would indicate that the beds were available, only to turn back patients.

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