Over 400 ICU beds have been added to state and private hospitals across Delhi in the past five days to combat the surge in Covid cases, the government said Saturday. The Arvind Kejriwal government, which has promised a total of 1,400 new ICU beds to deal with this health crisis, said 206 beds had been added today, 76 on Thursday, 100 on Wednesday and 29 on Tuesday.
On Thursday 42 private hospitals were ordered to reserve 80 per cent of their ICU capacity for COVID-19 patients, while 90 others were told to earmark 60 per cent of regular beds.
The ICMR has also scaled up Delhi’s RT-PCR testing capacity – this is the more reliable Covid test – from 27,000 tests per day to 37,200 RT-PCR tests per day, in line with instructions from the centre.
The rapid scaling up of hospital resources, specifically ICU and oxygen beds, and Covid testing comes as the national capital faces a relentless third wave of coronavirus infections that has taken the total number of cases to nearly 5.2 lakh and the deaths past 8,000.
This morning the city reported the highest daily increase in the country – 6,608 fresh infections took the active caseload past the 40,000-mark. As recently as August this figure was below 10,000.
The city also reported over 6,000 new cases in each of the past four days and over 7,000 on two.
The increase also comes as the city battles horrific levels of air pollution that endangers the health of those already suffering from respiratory diseases and makes COVID-19 a more deadly virus.
This morning authorities in Haryana’s Gurgaon and Faridabad started random testing of people coming from Delhi. Authorities in UP’s Noida began random testing earlier this week.
The spike in cases has heaped pressure on the ruling AAP of Chief Minister Kejriwal, with the Delhi High Court criticising the government over its flip-flop on measures to prevent the virus from spreading, including capping the number of guests allowed at weddings.
On Sunday Home Minister Amit Shah met with Mr Kejriwal to discuss the worrying situation in the national capital.
Mr Shah outlined a 12-point plan to tackle the problem, including providing extra ICU beds, oxygen cylinders and medical staff, as well as scaling up testing and monitoring people in home isolation.
The rising coronavirus cases in Delhi were attributed to the festive season, non-compliance of the COVID-19 safety behaviour and rising pollution in the city.