Centre Has Promised More ICU Beds, Daily Testing for COVID-19 to Go Up: Kejriwal after Meeting with Shah

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New Delhi: Around 750 ICU beds will be arranged at a DRDO centre here and daily testing scaled up to 1-1.25 lakh, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on rising COVID-19 cases in Delhi. It is very important for all agencies and governments to work together to deal with the situation, Kejriwal told reporters after the meeting.

"I want to thank the central government and the home minister for calling this meeting. All the agencies will now work together. It is required now that all work together for the health of Delhi people and save their lives," he said. The chief minister said COVID-19 beds were available in good numbers but ICU beds were filling up.

"The Centre has assured that in next two days, 500 ICU beds will be made available at the DRDO centre, and after a few more days, 250 more ICU beds will be arranged. So, around 750 ICU beds will be available there," Kejriwal said. The Centre will also help the Delhi government in getting BiPAP machines to increase the number of ICU beds at its facilities, the chief minister said.

Another decision taken in the meeting was to scale up daily tests from around 60,000 to 1-1.25 lakh per day. The central government will help in this as Delhi government facilities are now working in full capacity, he said. The chief minister said there was no discussion on imposing restrictions in Delhi in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases, and added that the Union home ministry would perhaps hold a meeting in this regard on Monday.

Kejriwal, who has previously blamed air pollution for the rise in COVID-19 cases, said no discussion was held on the issue of pollution. The chief minister later took to Twitter to seek support of Delhiites to take precautions against COVID-19, saying there was no room for carelessness.

"Delhi has shown before that we can overcome corona when we all work together. Centre, State govt, DRDO, ICMR will double their efforts n work together but we need support from all delhites. We can't afford to be careless. We need all citizens to help by taking all precautions." he tweeted. Earlier this week, Kejriwal had written to the Union health minister, requesting him to augment the COVID-19 bed capacity in central government-run hospitals in the capital in view of the surge in cases.

As on date, there are 16,641 COVID-19 beds, out of which the Delhi government hospitals have 5,451, those under the Centre have 3,721 and the remaining are of private hospitals, the Delhi government said in a statement. In the meeting chaired by the Union home minister, Kejriwal also asked for cooperation from the central government to tackle the pandemic, it said.

"The Delhi chief minister has also asked the central government to immediately intervene in the matter of pollution and to instruct to the neighbouring states to take serious steps to stop the stubble burning," the statement added. Delhi recorded 3,235 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking the infection tally to over 4.85 lakh, while 95 more fatalities pushed the city's 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. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain and senior officers of the central government attended the meeting.


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