NEW DELHI: Union home minister Amit Shah and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal announced on Monday coronavirus testing will be made available to everyone in Delhi. The announcement was made at an all-party meeting to discuss the coronavirus pandemic in the National Capital Region.
While chief minister
, his deputy
, and Delhi health minister
were conspicuous by their absence at Monday’s all-party meeting convened by Shah, the ruling AAP was represented by party MP Sanjay Singh. Other parties in attendance were
, BJP, BSP and SP.
Shah and Baijal, who chaired the meeting with representatives of all parties, accepted there was an urgent need to rein in the fear in people’s minds about coronavirus, and assured parties that testing will be available easily and at more affordable rates in the national capital in the days to come.
The government is also learnt to have told the gathering that ICMR has approved affordable tests at Rs 450 a piece, which will be made available in Delhi over the coming days.
Over the last one week, Delhi’s positivity rate has swelled with over 2,000 new cases being added to the capital’s tally on a daily basis.
Congress, represented in the meeting by its Delhi unit president Anil Kumar Chaudhary, alleged that even though at least three hospital facilities – totalling 2609 beds – are in advanced stages of readiness in the national capital, the Delhi government has failed to commission them during the coronavirus pandemic. The three facilities he referred to are the Ambedkar Nagar hospital, one in Burari, and the third, the Indira Gandhi Hospital in
TOI has learnt that the Union home minister sought a report into Chaudhary’s claim.
Congress also demanded a cash transfer of Rs 10,000 to every infected family and those living in containment zones, to compensate for their loss of livelihoods and incomes. Chaudhary demanded that final year students of medicine be roped in to strengthen Delhi’s medical fraternity, and submitted that the one crore compensation that was announced by the Kejriwal government to covid warriors who died on duty must be paid out immediately. “I told the home minister that the medical staff is demoralised and need better equipment, insurance covers and the promised compensation to enable them to fight coronavirus confidently,” Chaudhary told TOI after the all-party meeting.
AAP MP Sanjay Singh, who delivered a presentation on Delhi’s preparedness is also learnt to have acknowledged on Monday that opposition allegations of hospital beds not being available to those who needed it “may be true”. However, according to the AAP’s presentation at the all-party meeting on Monday, 40% beds are still vacant and available in Delhi’s government hospitals.
Shah, who briefed the political leaders on measures announced by the government to tackle coronavirus enlisted their support and that of their workers and volunteers to ensure effective testing of Delhi residents.
Shortly after the meeting, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said, “Union home minister Amit Shah has said that by June 20, the Delhi government will start conducting 18,000 Covid-19 tests per day.”