Work towards enhancing COVID beds in Delhi: HC to Centre, AAP govt

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New Delhi, Apr 22 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre and AAP government to look into the requirement of COVID beds in the national capital and work towards enhancing the same in hospitals run by them.

The high court also asked the Delhi government to explore the possibility of getting public sector undertakings (PSUs) to set up makeshift beds as was being done by some other states to enhance the availability of beds for citizens of the national capital.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said the number of beds have to be increased in proportion to the increase in COVID-19 cases from what it was last year at its peak.

It also asked the Delhi government to consider roping in smaller hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients who do not require tertiary level of care.

The court asked both the Centre and Delhi government to file status reports on steps taken by them to enhance the number of beds for COVID-19 patients in the national capital and listed the matter for hearing on April 26.

The observations by the bench came during the hearing of a disposed of petition, related to COVID-19 tests, that the high court revived on April 19 in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases.

During the hearing, senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, told the bench that while the Centre claimed in an affidavit that it has provided 4,159 beds for Delhi, of them 1,200 are isolation beds in Railway coaches at Shakur Basti and Anand Vihar here.

Mehra said the isolation beds cannot be equated with hospital beds.

He said that there were a total of around 20,000 COVID beds in the Delhi government run and private hospitals in the national capital and all of them were occupied.

Mehra urged the court to direct the Centre to allocate 80 per cent of the beds in their hospitals here for COVID-19 patients of Delhi in view of the raging pandemic.

He alleged that a lot of beds are lying vacant in central government hospitals, but they are not being provided for treatment of COVID-19 patients in Delhi.

Disputing the claims, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma, appearing for the central government, told the court that beds not being used by other non-COVID patients suffering from serious illnesses have been allocated for COVID-19 patients.

The Centre also told the court that not everyone needs tertiary level care and those people in the isolation beds can also be provided oxygen if required.

It also told the bench that it intends to add more beds for COVID-19 patients in view of the raging pandemic. PTI HMP SKV RKS RKS