Coronavirus: Delhi LG’s order on hospital beds will be implemented, says Arvind Kejriwal
The chief minister said the decisions made by the Centre and Baijal will be implemented without ‘any dispute or debate’.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday announced that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s order prohibiting reserving state-run hospitals and some private ones for residents of the city will be fully implemented as this was “not the time for disagreements”.
The state government on Sunday introduced a reservation policy in hospitals to only treat residents of the city. This was done to ease the pressure on the overwhelmed health infrastructure and address the shortage of beds in the Capital, Kejriwal said. However, all central hospitals in the city and private facilities that perform specialised surgeries will continue to cater to patients from all parts of the country, he added.
But Baijal deemed the order as unconstitutional and directed medical authorities in the city to ensure that treatment was not denied to anybody. He passed the order as the chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority. The lieutenant-governor also reversed the state government’s decision to test only those with symptoms of Covid-19 and said asymptomatic cases and high-risk contacts of a virus patient will also be tested.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Kejriwal said that whatever the Centre and Baijal have decided will be implemented without “any dispute or debate”. “This is not the time to fight with each other and do politics,” he said. “This is the time for all governments and organisations to stand together to defeat the coronavirus.”
The chief minister was addressing the media a day after he tested negative for the coronavirus.
Covid-19 cases in the national Capital breached the 31,000 mark on Tuesday with 1,366 more cases, while the toll mounted to 905, according to the Delhi government’s health bulletin. The bulletin issued on Wednesday said there are 18,543 active cases, while 11,861 patients have recovered, PTI reported.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, however, warned on Tuesday that Delhi would have 5.5 lakh cases by July 31. By then it will need 80,000 beds to tackle the escalating health crisis.
On Tuesday, the Delhi government directed 22 private hospitals in the city to reserve more than 20% beds for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
On Monday, Baijal chaired a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority to discuss the coronavirus situation in the Capital. At the meeting, Baijal also spoke about his order from Monday and asserted the unconstitutionality of the Delhi government’s decision to reserve hospitals. “A similar directive earlier issued by the Delhi government to discriminate in providing healthcare facilities to patients based on their residence was struck down by the High Court of Delhi,” a statement from Baijal’s office said.
The SDMA, or the State Disaster Management Authority is the key body involved in decision-making at the time of a natural disaster, contingency or any other crisis. It is headed by the lieutenant-governor, whose deputy is the chief minister.