Delhi will need 1.5 lakh beds by July 31: Kejriwal; cases reach near 33K, death toll 1K

New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) Delhi will need 1.5 lakh beds by July 31 once people start coming from other states for COVID-19 treatment, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday, amid an admission by Health Minister Satyendra Jain that there was “transmission in the community”.

Kejriwal said the Lieutenant Governor's orders overruling his government's decision to reserve state-run and private hospitals for Delhiities will be implemented as 'this is not the time for disagreements and politics'.

Addressing an online media briefing, Kejriwal said his government has 'unprecedented challenges' ahead as data shows that COVID-19 cases will rapidly increase in Delhi.

He asserted that around 1,900 patients got beds in hospitals in the last eight days and 4,200 beds were still available, a claim that comes amidst reports of acute shortage of beds in healthcare facilities in the national capital.

According to the health bulletin, 1,501 fresh cases were reported in Delhi on Wednesday, taking the tally to 32,810 cases. The death toll stands at 984.

Health Minister Satyendra Jain said there is 'transmission in the community' but only the Centre can declare if it is so.

Community transmission is a technical term, he said, putting the onus on the Centre.

A day earlier, Jain had told reporters that the source of infection is not known in nearly half of the fresh cases reported in the city.

In his first virtual briefing since Sunday when he went into self-isolation after he developed sore throat and fever, Kejriwal said, 'Delhi will need 1.5 lakh beds in healthcare facilities by July 31 once people start coming to the city for treatment from other states.” His COVID-19 test reports came negative.

The chief minister said out of the 1.5 lakh beds, it is estimated that 80,000 beds will be required for Delhiites, adding the calculation is based on numbers that showed 50 per cent of the beds in city hospitals were occupied by those from other states before the coronavirus pandemic.

Kejriwal's remarks came a day after his deputy Manish Sisodia warned of exponential growth in coronavirus cases in the national capital, and estimated the numbers to go up to 5.5 lakh by July 31.

The chief minister said in the next few days, he will personally step out to supervise the preparations to convert hotels and banquet halls into healthcare facilities, a day after a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority chaired by Lt Governor Anil Baijal decided to utilise banquet and marriage halls to ramp up medical facilities.

With an average of 1,250 COVID-19 cases daily, Delhi added 10,000 cases in just eight days from June 1, a sharp spike from the 79 days it took to reach the 10,000 mark, an analysis of data provided by the city government revealed.

The city took 13 days for the tally to progress from 10,000 to 20,000, it said. On the reversal of his government's decision to reserve state-run and private hospitals in the national capital for Delhiites by Baijal, Kejriwal said some people are saying that the Centre and the LG do not have any power to turn down the decision of an elected government which was formed following a huge mandate.

'However, we will implement the Centre's decision and LG's order in letter and spirit because this is not the time for disagreement and arguments. I want to send a message to those sitting in the government and political parties that it will be implemented. This is not the time to do politics. All of us have to fight together and defeat COVID-19,' he said.

Delhi will need 65,000 beds by July 15 once the people from other states start coming to Delhi for treatment and out of these 65,000 beds, 33,000 beds will be required for Delhiites, he added.

“The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation will make an honest effort to provide medical treatment to all,” the chief minister said as he requested state governments to ramp up their medical infrastructure so that most people do not need to come to Delhi for better treatment.

He also urged Delhiites to make -- wearing masks, following social distancing and washing hands -- a “mass movement'.

'COVID-19 cases are increasing very fast. We have to protect ourselves. If somebody is not following these three norms, we have to request him or her with folded hands to do these things as all of us had done during the implementation of odd-even rules,' he said.

Kejriwal said 31,000 coronavirus cases have so far been reported in Delhi and of these, 18,000 are active.

Around 15,000 COVID-19 patients are being treated in home isolation, he added.

The AAP supremo also thanked the media for highlighting the discrepancies in the system and requested it to continue to do so.