Working on war-footing to expand ICU beds in hospitals: CM Kejriwal

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New Delhi, Nov 19 (PTI) As Delhi reels under the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said his government is working on a 'war-footing' to expand the number of ICU beds in various hospitals.

Interacting with reporters after visiting DDU Hospital, he said the doctors have agreed to expand the ICU beds count at the facility from existing 50 to 100.

'I had a meeting with the doctors and medical superintendent of the DDU Hospital. Currently, 50 beds are earmarked in ICU for COVID patients, which they have agreed to double soon.' he said.

The chief minister said his government is working on a 'war-footing to expand the number of ICU beds in hospitals'.

The number of available Intensive Care Unit beds equipped with ventilators have begun to shrink fast at several hospitals here and at about 60 facilities, such ICU beds are totally occupied, according to official data.

The rise in coronavirus cases has happened at a time when approaching winter and severely deteriorating air quality in the city has worsened complications in people with respiratory illnesses.

The online Corona dashboard of the Delhi government showed that at around 12:30 PM on Thursday, out of 1,362 COVID-19 ICU beds with ventilators at various facilities here, only 131 were vacant.

Kejriwal on Wednesday had visited the GTB Hospital in east Delhi accompanied by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

Over 660 ICU beds are planned to be added in various city government hospitals in the next few days in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases here, he had told reporters after the visit.

A meeting was held with doctors at GTB Hospital and they agreed to add over 230 ICU beds in the next two days, Kejriwal had said on Wednesday.

He visited the facility of the city government on Thursday to review the preparedness and facilities in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases here.

The national capital recorded 7,486 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the infection tally to over 5 lakh, as 133 new fatalities, the highest single-day death count till date, pushed the toll to 7,943.

Talking about the fine amount for not wearing mask in public being hiked from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 by the government, the chief minister said, 'Because some people are not following COVID-19 safety behaviour, infection is spreading and it is necessary to instil some degree of fear in minds of such people'. PTI KND TDS TDS