Doctors' Panel Suggests Delhi Health Infrastructure Should Be Used for Its Residents Only

A Delhi government panel has suggested that the health infrastructure of the city should be used only for treating residents of the national capital in view of the COVID-19 crisis, sources said on Saturday.

The panel, headed by Indraprastha University vice-chancellor Dr Mahesh Verma, has submitted its report to the government in which it has said that if Delhi health infrastructure is open for non-residents, all beds will be occupied within three days.

The other members of panel are Dr Sunil Kumar, medical director of GTB Hospital; Dr Arun Gupta, president of Delhi Medical Council; Dr RK Gupta, former president of Delhi Medical Association; and Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, the group medical director of Max Hospital.

Their suggestions came on a day when Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged there are some private hospitals who are indulging in black marketing of beds in response to reports that there is a shortage of beds for coronavirus patients in the city.

Warning of strict action, Kejriwal said Delhi government teams are monitoring the "black marketing of beds" and said strict action will be taken in the next few days if hospitals do not start admitting patients, even as he said that some specialised hospitals have come forward with genuine concerns.

An official said that the government will soon take a decision on the report of the panel, constituted earlier this week. The Delhi government had asked the panel to guide it on healthcare infrastructure augmentation and overall preparedness of hospitals to battle COVID-19 in the national capital.

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

On Friday, Delhi recorded 1,330 fresh coronavirus cases taking the COVID-19 tally in the city beyond the 26,000-mark as the death toll jumped to 708. The highest spike in fresh cases -- 1513 -- was recorded on June 3.

Earlier this week, the government had directed that asymptomatic COVID-19 patients and those having mild symptoms be discharged from hospitals within 24 hours of admission, and district surveillance officers should be reported.

The government had warned hospitals that non-compliance will be viewed seriously and invite legal action "without further notice".

On June 1, Kejriwal had announced sealing of Delhi's borders for a week in the wake of rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the national capital.

The Delhi government had received over 7.5 lakh suggestions from people on whether the borders should be reopened and health services of hospitals be restricted to the treatment of only Delhiites, according to an official statement on Friday evening.

Sources in the government had said on Friday that the borders can be reopened, but services of the Delhi government-run health facilities may be reserved only for the people of the national capital.

However, health services in the Centre-run hospitals may be available for people belonging to other states.

(With inputs from PTI)