COVID cases cross 14K mark in Delhi; CM says situation in control even after more lockdown relaxations
New Delhi: As the number of coronavirus cases crossed the 14,000 mark in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday asserted that the situation in the national capital is under control and his government is ready to deal with any spike in the infections.
Kejriwal said he was expecting a slight increase in COVID-19 cases when several relaxations were given in the fourth phase of the lockdown.
“It has been one week since the (fourth phase) lockdown began. After one week, I can say that the situation is still under control and there is no need to panic,” he said, adding that there has been a slight increase in COVID-19 cases but it is not matter of concern as people are recovering simultaneously.
Addressing an online briefing, Kejriwal said coronavirus will not go away in next one or two days and he would be concerned only if there is a significant increase in fatalities or the city’s health care system collapses due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.
With 635 fresh cases of COVID-19, the overall tally stood at 14,053. The death toll stood at 276 in the national capital, a bulletin issued by the health department said.
The number of active patients of COVID-19 was 7,006 while 6,771 patients have either recovered and been discharged or migrated to other places, the bulletin added.
The highest spike in fresh cases — 660 — was reported on Friday. Delhi has been reporting 500 or more fresh cases every day for the last one week.
Delhi currently has 88 containment zones where positive cases have been found leading to sealing of these neighbourhoods.
The government is ready to deal with the situation if there is a spike in the number of serious cases in the national capital, Kejriwal said.
He said there are currently 4,500 beds available for COVID-19 patients in both private and government hospitals and 2,000 new beds will be available in private facilities from Monday.
According to him, there were 9,755 COVID-19 cases in Delhi on May 17 and the number climbed to 13,418 with around 3,500 cases being recorded within seven days of implementation of fourth phase of lockdown.
However, 2,500 people have also recovered from the virus during this period, Kejriwal said, adding that only 250 patients were admitted to hospitals in last seven days
“I will be concerned when two things happen. First, there is significant increase in death cases and second thing is collapse of health care system due to sudden spike in cases due to which no bed is available in hospitals…,” he said
“Government hospitals have 3,829 beds for COVID-19 patients and of these, only 1,478 beds are occupied. Around 2,500 beds are still available. In government hospitals, we have 250 ventilators out of which 11 are occupied,” he said.
On Sunday, Delhi government had directed private hospitals and nursing homes with a capacity of 50 beds or more to reserve 20 per cent of their total bed strength for coronavirus patients.
Kejriwal said with this move, 2,000 new beds will be available in private hospitals.
The chief minister said 3,314 coronavirus patients are getting treatment at their house while 2,000 are admitted at hospitals.
The government has issued a show-cause notice to a private hospital that denied treatment to a patient who later tested positive for COVID-19, Kejriwal said.
“It is the hospital’s duty to provide an ambulance to such patients and take them to a COVID-19-dedicated hospital,” he said.
He said that in Delhi, most COVID-19 patients are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.
The chief minister said the government has decided to reserve 1,500 beds for COVID-19 patients in state-run GTB Hospital.
Meanwhile, senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh hit out at the BJP alleging that it was spreading lies about the AAP government’s figures on COVID-19 deaths.
He said that this kind of politics clearly shows that the BJP is trying to mislead the people of Delhi and spread fear among them through its false claims.
Leaders of BJP-ruled civic bodies had alleged that the Delhi government was under-reporting the coronavirus deaths. They had cited records from crematoria and graveyards.
On Friday, the Delhi High Court refused to entertain a plea seeking direction to the Delhi government to come out with actual figures of COVID 19 cases and the death count without any delay and to scrap the death audit committee.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, conducting the hearing through video conferencing, disposed of the petition and granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the court again at an appropriate time.
The Delhi government’s health bulletin reports cumulative death figures that refer to fatalities where the primary cause of death was found to be COVID-19 by the Death Audit Committee on the basis of case sheets received from various hospitals.
Meanwhile, the Jawaharlal Nehru University strongly advised students stranded in its hostels to return to their native places as special trains and some intra-state bus services have become operational following the relaxation in COVID-19 lockdown norms.