Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has sought help from the Indian Army to set up and run coronavirus health facilities in the national Capital, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday.
Sisodia wrote to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for setting up and manning about 10,000 non-intensive care unit beds with oxygen support and 1,000 ICU beds.
“Since the entire health infrastructure machinery is overwhelmed with the management of the existing hospitals and the upcoming Covid hospitals, it will be a timely help to the people of Delhi if the ministry of defence, with the considerable resources at its command, is tasked with the responsibility to provide and man the additional Covid health facilities as per the current projections,” Sisodia wrote.
Delhi is currently reeling under the second wave of the coronavirus. The national Capital is facing a scarcity of medical oxygen and is dealing with a shortage of beds to admit coronavirus patients.
On Sunday, at least three Delhi hospitals had sent out desperate pleas for oxygen as their stocks of the life-saving gas dwindled. On May 1, 12 patients, including a doctor, had died in the city’s Batra Hospital after oxygen ran out for more than an hour at the private facility.
Currently, there are 16,272 non-ICU oxygen beds and 4,866 ICU beds in the national Capital. The Delhi government is creating an additional 15,000 non-ICU beds with oxygen support and 1,200 ICU beds expected to be operational in the next 10 days.
Sisodia wrote to the ministry, saying that Delhi is recording over 25,000 new cases every day and about 10% of them need some form of hospitalisation. He said that the additional health infrastructure will soon reach its capacity. He also requested the ministry to arrange for medical oxygen supply for the health facilities that would be set up.
The deputy chief minister said that the city also needs the Indian Army’s help in procuring about 40,000 D Type medical oxygen cylinders. He also requested the defence ministry for medical and paramedical teams to boost the medical manpower of Delhi.
“The operational details can be mutually worked out after receipt of in-principle approval from the defence ministry,” he said.
Sisodia thanked the Centre for increasing Delhi’s oxygen supply. He asked the ministry to provide cryogenic tankers for transporting Liquid Medical Oxygen. “The government of Delhi with necessary help from the government of India and other state governments is augmenting the transport infrastructure by sourcing cryogenic tankers even from abroad,” the deputy chief minister said.
On Sunday, Delhi reported over 400 deaths for the second consecutive day, registering 407 fatalities. This took the toll to 16,966 in the city since the pandemic first broke out in January 2020. Delhi also registered 20,394 new coronavirus cases, pushing the overall infection count 11,94,946.