Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said the number of coronavirus tests in the Capital would be increased from around 60,000 to over 1 lakh, ANI reported. The chief minister also said that the Centre has assured him that 750 intensive care unit beds will be made available at the Defence Research and Development Organisation centre.
The chief minister said that Covid-19 dedicated beds are sufficient but the number of ICU beds was decreasing rapidly. “Centre has given the assurance that 500 beds will be made available at the DRDO centre in two days,” Kejriwal said, after a review meeting called by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to take stock of the coronavirus situation, amid rising cases in the Capital. “After a few days, 250 more [beds will be provided].” He added that the Centre would also give BiPap machines to aid the Delhi government in increasing the ICU bed capacity.
On the number of tests, the chief minister said that the Indian Council of Medical Research has assured him of providing the needed facilities. He said that the Delhi government was working in full capacity to handle the coronavirus situation, adding that no decision was taken about the severe pollution levels in the Capital during the meeting.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Health Minister Satyendar Jain, and senior officers of the central government were also present at the meeting, which is under way.
The Capital, which has seen a surge in infections over the past week, reported 7,340 new coronavirus cases on Saturday in 24 hours, taking the city’s tally to 4,82,170. The toll rose by 96 to 7,519. The highest single-day spike of 8,593 cases and 85 fatalities were recorded on Wednesday. On November 12, the number of deaths was 104, the highest in over five months.
After the meeting Shah, in a series of tweets, highlighted the measures taken in Delhi. The home minister said that daily RT-PCR tests will be doubled, the capacity of the testing laboratories will be enhanced. He also added that mobile testing vans of the Centre and the Indian Council of Medical Research will be stationed in areas where a high number of cases have been recorded.
Shah said that in order to increase the number of oxygen beds, the 10,000-bed Chhatarpur Covid care centre will be developed, and some of the Delhi municipal corporation hospitals will be turned into Covid-dedicated hospitals.
The sudden spike in coronavirus cases comes amid the festive season and rising pollution levels. While Durga Puja celebrations ended on October 25, Diwali was on Saturday and Chhath later this week.
Kejriwal had on Friday, cited pollution to be the main reason behind the sharp rise in infections. He claimed that the coronavirus situation in the Capital would come under control within seven to 10 days.
The Indian Council of Medical Research on Tuesday said that Delhi was witnessing a third spike in coronavirus cases which is showing more cases than before. Later on Friday, Kejriwal claimed that the situation would come under control within seven to 10 days.