HC Allows Delhi Govt to Reserve 80% ICU Beds for Covid-19 Patients in 33 Private Hospitals

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday allowed the AAP government to reserve 80% of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in 33 private hospitals, saying the situation in the national capital is fairly dynamic and cases of coronavirus are spiralling.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad allowed the appeal of Delhi government challenging a single judge's interim order staying the government's decision to reserve 80% of ICU beds.

The high court vacated the stay order passed by the single judge and listed the matter for further hearing on November 26 before the single bench and till then the reservation of 80% of ICU beds will continue.

The high court was hearing a plea by the Delhi government urging it to empower it to enforce reservation of 80% of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in 33 private hospitals at least for 15 days in view of the rise in the number of cases. Delhi recorded its biggest single-day jump of 8,593 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday that took its infection tally to over 4.59 lakh people, while 85 new fatalities pushed the national capital's death toll to 7,228.

As coronavirus cases surge in the national capital, Delhi could be staring at a possible crunch in availability of ICU beds and those with ventilators in both government and private hospitals. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on November 7 had written a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan seeking enhancement of 1,092 beds in central government-ruled hospitals, including 300 ICU beds.

In his letter, Kejriwal referred to projections of the Expert Committee under chairperson Dr Vinod Paul in the latter's Revised Covid Response Strategy 3.0 for Delhi in which the number of cases has been projected to rise to 15,000 per day during the third surge in the upcoming weeks due to various factors like rising pollution, celebration of festivals, wedding season, etc.