Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday directed Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev in a circular to ensure that all major hospitals, clinics and nursing homes in the national Capital display the availability of beds for both Covid-19 and ordinary patients, on large LED screens outside their establishments. The new rules intend to increase transparency and help the public, the order said.

Delhi, which is one of the worst-affected cities, has 31,309 cases and 905 deaths so far. The number of cases are expected to climb to 5.5 lakh by the end of July, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Tuesday.

The lieutenant governor, who is also the chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, also directed hospitals to display the charges for the rooms and details of the person to be contacted for admitting a patient. He advised the state health department to ensure that the data displayed on the screens is the same as provided on the government app “Delhi Corona”.

On June 2, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the app “Delhi Corona” to provide information about Covid-19 beds and ventilators occupied and vacant, in public as well as private hospitals across the Capital.

Wednesday’s circular said surprise checks could be conducted at hospitals. “Periodic surprise checks may also be conducted by the officers deputed by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority to ensure that correct data is displayed by hospitals and no eligible/genuine patient is denied admission or overcharged,” the order read.

Earlier on Wednesday, Kejriwal said that Baijal’s order prohibiting reservation of state-run hospitals and some private ones for residents of the city will be fully implemented as this was “not the time for disagreements”. He also said that over 50% of people come from other states for treatment in Delhi, and this will be a challenge for the government.

“The number of beds that will be needed for the people of Delhi, the same number of beds will be needed for people coming from other states,” Kejriwal said. “This is a big challenge, but we will try our best.”

He said till July 31, the national Capital will need over 1.5 lakh beds for the people coming from other states for treatment. The Aam Aadmi Party convenor said that the government will get hotels, studios and stadiums prepared and do their best to increase number of beds.

AAP has repeatedly claimed that there is no shortage of beds for coronavirus patients in Delhi. But relatives of several patients have told that they were unable to get beds in hospitals across the national Capital as authorities cited a shortage.

On June 5, it took 59-year-old Somnath Kumar, who showed symptoms of the coronavirus, over eight hours to find a hospital bed in Delhi.

On June 4, Inder Bajaj’s 49-year-old diabetic mother started feeling breathless, and became concerned that she might have contracted Covid-19. Bajaj drove his mother around for 13 hours, looking for a medical facility. However, four hospitals refused her admission. Finally, authorities at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital sent the woman home with a few medicines, claiming that she had pneumonia, and saying that they had no beds to admit her.

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