663 ICU beds to be added in hospitals; restrictions could be in COVID hotspots

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New Delhi, Nov 18 (PTI) Over 660 ICU beds are planned to be added in various city government hospitals in the next few days in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases here, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday.

He was interacting with reporters after visiting GTB Hospital in east Delhi, accompanied by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

A meeting was held with doctors at GTB Hospital and they have agreed to add over 230 ICU beds in the next two days, Kejriwal said.

'In all, 663 ICU beds shall be added in various Delhi hospitals in the next few days,' Kejriwal said, adding that 'despite such a huge surge in cases, our doctors have managed the COVID-19 situation well'.

He visited the facility of the city government in east Delhi to review the preparedness and facilities in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases here.

'In the review meeting held with doctors and the GTB hospital administration, the doctors agreed to increase the strength of the ICU beds by 232, which means that the total number of ICU beds at GTB Hospital will become 400,' he was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO).

'Apart from this, the Centre has assured 750 additional ICU beds, so around 1,400 beds will be increased across hospitals in Delhi in the next few days,' he added.

Delhi had recorded 6,396 fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the tally in the national capital to over 4.95 lakh, even as 99 new fatalities pushed the toll to 7,812.

The highest single-day spike of 8593 cases till date here was recorded on November 11 when 85 fatalities were recorded.

'I had sent a proposal to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi yesterday for decreasing the number of wedding guests in Delhi from 200 to 50, which has been approved by him.

'Secondly, due to Diwali, we saw that social distancing norms were not followed in many markets in Delhi. So, we sent a proposal to the LG for the central government to allow the Delhi government to impose local lockdown in the market places which are potential COVID hotspots,' he was quoted as saying in the statement.

The chief minister said the Delhi government will observe the COVID situation in the coming days and asses according to that.

'We are not shutting the markets down right now. I was listening to some news channels yesterday which mentioned that there will be a mini lockdown in Delhi, which is not the case. We will observe the situation in the coming days and will assess according to that,' he said.

Saving the economy and the livelihood of the people is the city government's topmost priority right now, the chief minister said.

'Unless very necessary, we will not take any step, but we have only written to the central government for now,' he said.

Interacting with reporters after the visit, Kejriwal said, 'The corona cases have been rising in Delhi for the past few days, but overall, there is a sufficient number of beds in hospitals in Delhi. If we leave some big private hospitals, there is an adequate number of beds available in government and private hospitals. However, there is a dearth of ICU beds in Delhi and we are making efforts to increase ICU beds.' 'Firstly, we have to take steps to decrease the number of COVID cases in Delhi, and secondly, we have to provide the best treatment to corona patients in Delhi. I agree that Delhi has the maximum number of coronavirus cases, but if we look at big cities across the world, such as Italy, France, New York, Sweden, the videos that surfaced when there were a high number of daily cases in these cities showed people lying on the roads, and they were not able to avail beds in hospitals,' he said.

'At that time, when New York had reported 6,300 cases in a single day, there were around 550 deaths. Our doctors have done a commendable job,' Kejriwal said.

In Delhi, one doesn't see people lying in the corridors of hospitals or on the roads, as they are getting adequate and timely treatment, he added.

'I was very touched by the response of the doctors here (at GTB) when they immediately agreed to increase ICU beds for corona patients,' he said. PTI KND KJ