The Delhi government plans to add 20,000 beds across the hotels and banquet halls of the city over the coming week — a quarter of the 80,000 beds it expects to need by July-end to cope with the spiraling coronavirus cases. The national capital has logged nearly 38,000 cases so far. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said that going by the current doubling rate the city, 5.5 lakh cases are expected by the end of July. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is meeting Union home minister Amit Shah and Union health minister Harsh Vardhan to discuss preparations to handle the surge.
Delhi is at the third position – after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu – in terms of cases and recorded more than 2,000 cases for a second consecutive day on Saturday.
Approximately 11,000 beds will be arranged at 80 banquet halls and these beds will be attached to nursing homes, the government said.
Around 4,000 beds will also be arranged at 40 hotels and will be attached to private hospitals in the city.
All nursing homes with 10 to 49 beds will be set aside for coronavirus patients, which will add another 5000 beds to the total.
Treatment of coronavirus patients has already started in some of the hotels-turned hospitals. All district magistrates have been directed to implement the new guidelines, sources said.
Last week, Delhi’s order to reserve the hospitals it runs for the people of Delhi was scrapped by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who said treatment “should not be denied to any patient on grounds of being a non-resident”. Mr Sisodia has said Delhi will need around 80,000 beds to handle the surge in cases by the end of July.
Two days ago, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Delhi government and several other states over the handling of the patients in hospitals. It also asked the Arvind Kejriwal government to explain the drop in coronavirus testing from 7,000 to 5,000 a day “when Chennai and Mumbai have increased their testing from 16,000 to 17,000”.
Requests for coronavirus tests cannot be denied, the top court said, adding that the “procedure can be simplified so that more and more tests are done”.