As coronavirus cases spiral, Delhi govt forms 5-member panel to strengthen health infra in city

New Delhi, Jun 3 (PTI) As the coronavirus cases continue to spiral in the national capital, the Delhi government has set up a five-member panel to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure in the city and look into the overall preparedness of hospitals to battle the pandemic, officials said on Wednesday.

Delhi recorded 1,513 fresh cases, the highest spike so far, taking the tally to 23,645, while the death toll rose to 606, according to a health bulletin.

The officials said that there are 8,386 COVID-19 dedicated beds in the city hospitals, of which 3,446 are occupied. Of the 408 ventilators dedicated for COVID-19 patients, 255 are being used for patients.

The newly-formed committee will guide the Delhi government on healthcare infrastructure augmentation and overall preparedness of the hospitals to battle COVID-19, they said. The members of the panel are Dr. Mahesh Verma, the vice-chancellor of IP University; Dr. Sunil Kumar, the medical director of GTB Hospital; Dr. Arun Gupta, president of Delhi Medical Council; Dr. R K Gupta, former president of Delhi Medical Association; and Dr. Sandeep Budhiraja, the group medical director of Max Hospital, according to an official order.

The panel will also guide the government on any other area where strengthening of infrastructure is required to better manage the pandemic in Delhi.

The daily spike in cases has been upwards of 1,100 for last several days while the total number of containment zones has risen to 158.

Delhi has the highest number of cases after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the complete lockdown has helped the Delhi government in strengthening the city's health infrastructure to effectively battle COVID-19.

Addressing the 'Cities Against COVID19 - Global Summit 2020' via video conference on Wednesday, he mentioned key measures adopted by the Delhi government to contain the spread of the dreaded virus.

The summit was attended by mayors and experts from 21 cities, including Moscow, Jakarta, Istanbul, Budapest, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, Vancouver and Chongqing.

'As Delhi got its first COVID-19 positive case on March 2, it was very important to curb the spread of the disease. The total lockdown enabled us to spread awareness about the virus among the citizens and strengthen our health infrastructure to effectively battle the disease,' he said.

The deputy chief minister said the government has adequate medical facilities to deal with coronavirus cases.

He said the Delhi government's relief teams have been working round the clock to provide meals to almost a million people twice a day.

'Delhi plans to restore economic activity safely in a phased manner,' the deputy chief minister said.

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party claimed that the Centre-run (Ram Manohar Lohia) RML Hospital was giving out “erroneous” COVID-19 test results and violating government norms of submitting them within 48 hours.

Addressing a press conference here, AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said the Delhi government re-tested 30 samples from the RML Hospital which were declared COVID-19 positive.

He said 12 of these samples were found to be negative and the results of two samples were inconclusive.

'As per the protocol and to maintain the certainty of the tests, the Delhi government checks the test results of the hospitals by re-testing some samples time and again. Recently, the Delhi government took 30 samples from RML Hospital which were declared to be positive (by the hospital) and sent for re-testing.

“You will be surprised to know that the result of 12 samples out of the 30 came negative and results for two samples were inconclusive,' he said.

No immediate reaction was available from the hospital. PTI KND VIT UZM PR RT RT