Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday alleged that some private hospitals are involved in the black marketing of beds and said that suspected coronavirus patients cannot be turned away. He added that some hospitals are “doing mischief” and it will not be tolerated.
“There are some private hospitals which are engaging in the black marketing of beds in Delhi even in the midst of this pandemic,” Kejriwal said during an online media briefing. “I am warning those who think they will be able to do black-marketing of beds using the influence of their protectors from other parties, you will not be spared.”
He said strict action will be taken against hospitals who are refusing patients even when beds are available. Kejriwal said the government launched the “Delhi Corona” app to make the information about number of beds and ventilators in hospitals transparent, adding that there was an uproar over it as if they committed a crime.
However, relatives of several patients told Scroll.in that they had been unable to get beds in hospitals across the national Capital as authorities cited a shortage. They also said that the information on the “Delhi Corona” app does not tally with position on the ground.
Kejriwal admitted that there were some problems with the app, but said the authorities were working to resolve the matter.
Kejriwal said there will be no negotiation and all hospitals have to reserve beds and treat coronavirus patients. “We will also issue an order today that even suspected coronavirus patients will need to be admitted by hospitals if approached and cannot be turned away under any circumstances,” the Aam Aadmi Party chief added.
He said his government is meeting representatives of private hospitals on a daily basis to resolve their problems in treating coronavirus patients. “Delhi government will deploy medical professionals at each private hospital to keep a tab on available beds for patients,” the chief minister said. “Please allow a few days for us to sort this out. We will investigate and take action against those who are refusing to admit patients even when beds are available.”
Kejriwal reiterated that only those who have the symptoms should get tested or else the healthcare system of Delhi would collapse. “As of today, no dearth of beds,” he tweeted. “Against 8,645 total available beds, 4,038 occupied and 4,607 vacant. These are real beds, not mere figures. As of today, sufficient beds available. But some of them refuse admission. We won’t permit their mischief. Give us a few days. We are at it.”
He added that testing for the coronavirus has not been stopped in Delhi and that 36 labs are functional.
Amid reports about the shortage of hospital beds in the Capital, the Delhi Health Department said that asymptomatic coronavirus patients and those experiencing mild symptoms must be discharged from hospitals within 24 hours of admission.
On Friday, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had attributed the reports on shortage of beds to hospitals not updating the data on the mobile application on time or misrepresenting actual data when patients call.
The government’s clarification came as the total cases in the city rose to 26,334 on Friday. Twenty-five deaths have also been reported in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 708. The health bulletin added that 417 people have recovered, taking the total number of recoveries to 10,315. There are currently 15,311 active cases in Delhi.