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Close to 24,000 new Covid cases in Delhi, beds and oxygen supply running out in many hospitals: CM Arvind Kejriwal


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday that the Covid caseload is fast increasing and the pressure on the health infrastructure is immense now, with many hospitals facing a shortage of beds, oxygen and drugs such as remdesivir and tocilizumab.

Delhi reported close to 24,000 cases in a day on Saturday, which is the highest single-day spike for it as well as for any city in India. The city’s positivity rate has climbed to 24%, Kejriwal said.

The total number of Covid cases in Delhi since the beginning of the pandemic now stands close to 8.3 lakh.

He also said that the weekend lockdown was announced because the situation in Delhi was serious. “We are taking stock of the situation and will announce more measures if required,” he said.

“Every heath system has a threshold and a limit. We are trying to increase the number of beds quickly, particularly the ones with oxygen support. We want to ensure that there is no shortage of oxygen and are trying to increase the number of beds with oxygen support,” the CM said.

He added, “A total of 1,300 beds with oxygen support will be readied at Yamuna Sports Complex and CWG Village in a few days. Another 2,500 beds are also being set up in Radha Soami Satsang Complex in Chhatarpur. I am hoping that we will get 6,000 more beds in the coming two-three days. The rate at which Covid is spreading, there is no telling when the peak will be reached. We cannot afford to have a lax attitude at all. We need to be one step ahead [of the crisis].”

The CM held a review meeting with senior officials and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday afternoon, during which he took stock of the availability of facilities and resources.

At present, there are 17, 246 beds in Delhi (including those reserved at banquet halls and hotels linked to hospitals). Of these, 13,158 are occupied. There are 1,286 ventilators, out of which only 124 are vacant. Moreover, there are 2,764 ICU beds without ventilators, out of which 165 are vacant.

Kejriwal also appealed to the Centre to increase the number of beds set aside for Covid patients. At present, 1,931 beds in different hospitals such as AIIMS, Safdarjung and LHMC have been reserved for Covid patients.

“We request the Centre to increase the number of Covid beds in hospitals run by them. There are close to 10,000 beds in hospitals run by the Centre. Our request is that at least 50% of these should be reserved for Covid patients and that ICU facilities should also be provided,” he said during a webcast.

The state will also keep a close eye on laboratories testing people for Covid after several reports of delayed testing were received, he said.

“Delhi was the only city where test reports were being given within 24 hours. Now we are receiving complaints that reports are being delayed by 2-4 days. The reason is that some laboratories have picked up samples more than their capacity. Now the results are being delayed. The harm here is that if a serious patient has got tested and their result is delayed by three days, they could die in this time period. You are playing with their lives. Strict action will be taken against those labs that are picking more samples than their capacity and are delaying results. DMs have also been told to check the capacity of labs before sending samples to them,” Kejriwal said.

Addressing complaints that hospitals are denying beds despite the Delhi Corona app showing that they have vacant beds, Kejriwal said that the availability has to be reflected in real time. If the app shows that beds are available at a hospital but it refuses to allot beds to patients, strict action will be taken against the authorities, he said.