The Congress on Monday demanded the Centre should expand testing capacity for Covid-19 to include every citizen of Delhi, reported NDTV. The demands were made at an all-party meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the coronavirus situation in the Capital.
The home minister and Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal said that coronavirus testing will be made available to everyone in the Capital, News 18 reported.
The meeting came a day after Shah met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the second time in less than a week, to discuss the escalating health crisis in the Capital. After Sunday’s meeting, Shah announced that the Centre will provide 500 railway coaches to Delhi due to shortage of beds at hospitals. He also added that coronavirus testing will be ramped up amid a sharp increase in cases.
During Monday’s meeting, the Congress told Shah that an amount of Rs 10,000 should be paid to every family in which a member is infected with Covid-19, or to those who live in a containment zone. The party also demanded that all medical students who are in their final year of education, should be used as non-permanent resident doctors to step up efforts to tackle the outbreak.
Apart from the Congress, the meeting was also attended by the Aam Aadmi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party.
“Everyone should have right to testing,” Delhi Congress Chief Anil Chaudhary told ANI after the talks concluded. “Treatment is possible only through testing and [the] tracing policy followed by all countries, [and the home minister] HM has accepted that. He has assured that under a new testing policy everyone will have right to testing.”
The home minister urged parties to keep aside their political differences and work together for the people of Delhi. “We will have to increase Covid-19 testing in Delhi by adopting new solutions,” Shah said. “United face of all political parties will enhance people’s trust and Covid-19 situation in Delhi will soon be normal.”
The Congress also accused Kejriwal and his administration of misleading the public and “playing games”. “[The] construction of three large hospitals with 2,609 beds should have been completed by December 2019,” Chaudhary said. “What game is the Delhi government playing?”
The Delhi party chief said that the Congress has submitted evidence to the home minister regarding the matter. “Kejriwal had announced of providing a compensation of Rs one crore for next of kin of [the] corona warriors,” he added. “But that compensation has not been provided yet. We have requested that the compensation be immediately provided so that they don’t lose their morale.”
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded the treatment costs at private hospitals be fixed and testing charges be reduced by 50%. The party said the home minister had set up a committee that will submit a report within two days,” BJP’s Delhi unit chief Adesh Kumar Gupta said. “Based on the report, price capping will be done for private hospitals.”
Gupta cited the home minister as saying that the Delhi government will start conducting 18,000 Covid-19 tests per day by June 20.
Delhi has been recording a daily increase in the number of coronavirus cases that has taken a toll on the city’s health infrastructure. Several reports have emerged of patients struggling to find hospital beds. On Friday, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Delhi government over the “deplorable conditions” at hospitals and the way bodies were being handled.
Delhi is the third worst coronavirus-affected region in India after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. On Sunday, the Capital reported 2,224 new cases, pushing the total to 41,182. This was the highest single-day increase in the city.
Earlier on Sunday, the Delhi government ordered the setting up of 20,000 new beds for coronavirus patients within a week. There will be 11,000 beds in banquets halls, 5,000 in nursing homes and 4,000 in hotels.