Union Minister Amit Shah on Sunday listed several steps to be taken in the coming days to arrest the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Delhi after the national capital over the past few weeks reported thousands of new cases each day. These include making available 300 additional ICU beds and doubling the number of daily RT-PCR tests in the national capital.

Shah also said some hospitals under the municipal corporations of Delhi will be converted into dedicated COVID hospitals and doctors and paramedics of paramilitary forces will be deployed in the national capital to deal with the shortage of manpower.

Shah said in order to save more lives, the Centre will also provide oxygen, high-flow nasal cannula and other health equipment to Delhi. The decisions were taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Shah and attended by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan among others.

“The number of RT-PCR tests to be doubled in #Delhi. Mobile Testing Vans of ICMR and Health Ministry to be deployed at vulnerable spots. Few MCD hospitals to be converted into COVID dedicated hospitals for treatment of COVID patients with mild symptoms,” Shah said in a series of tweets in Hindi after the review meeting.

“A review of all previously established containment measures like marking of containment zones, contact tracing, quarantine and screening in Delhi. Additional doctors from CAPFs and paramedical staff to be airlifted to Delhi, in view of shortage of health care workers here,” he said.

Shah said dedicated multi-department teams will visit all private hospitals in Delhi for inspection of availability of COVID-19 medical infrastructure, admission of patients and availability of beds. More oxygen cylinders, high-flow nasal cannula and other necessary equipment will be made available to the Delhi government by the Centre, he added.

Shah said the meeting resolved to enhance the capacity of Delhi’s hospitals and 300 ICU beds will be made available at the DRDO COVID hospital (Dhaula Kuan) in addition to the existing 250 ICU beds. The The 10,000-bedded Chhatarpur COVID care centre will be strengthened as well.

“Directions have been given for protocol to be made for plasma donation and transfusion in the case of COVID-19 patients,” said Shah. :A high-level committee headed by Dr VK Paul, AIIMS, and the ICMR Director General will submit a report on this soon.”

Delhi recorded 3,235 fresh COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking the infection tally to over 4.85 lakh, while ninety-five more fatalities pushed the death toll to 7,614. The meeting was convened to devise a strategy to contain the spread of the virus in Delhi, especially in view of the festive season and decreasing temperatures accompanied by rising pollution, said an official of the home ministry.

After the meeting, Kejriwal said more beds will be made available and testing will be scaled up.

“Since October 20, there has been a rise in cases here, there is sufficient number of COVID beds, but ICU beds are exhausting. The Centre has assured 750 ICU beds will be made available at the DRDO centre. The number of COVID tests conducted daily will be increased to over one lakh,” he said. “The Centre will also help the Delhi government in getting BiPAP machines to increase the number of ICU beds at Delhi government facilities.”

Kejriwal had earlier sought Shah’s intervention in handling the alarming Covid-19 situation in the national capital. The steps already taken by the Delhi government to control the pandemic are also likely to be discussed in the meeting. The meeting comes at a time when the national capital is witnessing more than 7,000 cases on a daily basis for the past few days.

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