COVID-19 tests in Delhi will be doubled in the next two days and increased by three times after six days, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday after meeting CM Arvind Kejriwal amid concern over the rapid growth of the novel coronavirus cases in the national capital.
Shah also said that comprehensive house-to-house health survey will be done in Delhi containment zones for coronavirus contact tracing.
In view of the shortage of beds for coronavirus patients in Delhi, the Home Minister said the Centre has decided to immediately give 500 railway coaches to Delhi which will not only add 8,000 more beds in the national capital but these coach will also be equipped with all facilities to fight corona infections.
Shah on Sunday held a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, CM Kejriwal and others to discuss the situation in Delhi.
The Covid-19 tally in Delhi has reached nearly 39,000 cases and the death toll rose to over 1,200.
After the meeting, Kejriwal said, "Extremely productive meeting between Delhi government and Centre. Many key decisions have been taken; we will fight against COVID-19 together."
In another initiative, the Centre has decided to constitute a committee of senior doctors for telephonic guidance in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in order to provide correct information and guidelines for the deadly virus to small hospitals in Delhi.
Shah said the purpose is that "best systems can be communicated down to the bottom". A helpline number in this regard will be launched tomorrow (Monday), Shah said.
For the treatment of corona infections in private hospitals in Delhi, the Centre has formed a committee under the chairmanship of Vinod Paul, NITI Aayog Member and Convener of the Empowered Group of Medical Emergency Management Plan.
The committee will help in providing 60 per cent of the corona beds in private hospitals at a low rate for corona treatment and testing. "The committee will submit its report by Monday," Shah said.
In the meeting, the central government decided to release new guidelines for funeral of deceased patients to reduce the waiting period.
As many voluntary organisations have contributed to relief work amid the COVID-19 crisis, the government has decided to rope in Scout Guides, NCC, NSS and other NGOs as volunteers in health services.
Shah also assured the Delhi government on meeting its necessary reqirements like oxygen cylinders, ventilators, pulse oximeters, and other needs to fight the epidemic.
It was decided that the Centre will give five more senior officers to the Delhi government to take up corona infection prevention in Delhi and fight it vigorously.
Health departments under the central and Delhi governments along with other departments concerned and experts have been instructed to ensure that all decisions taken in the meetings are implemented down to the bottom level.
The home minister has also called a separate meeting in the evening with the mayors of Delhi's three municipal corporations -- North, South and East -- and commissioners of the civic bodies to discuss the coronavirus situation in the capital.
The lieutenant governor, chief minister and the Union health minister will also attend the evening meeting.
The number of coronavirus cases in Delhi is the third highest in the country after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
There have been criticism from different quarters over the handling of COVID-19 cases in the capital, with complaints of non-availability of beds in hospitals for patients and difficulty in getting the tests done in laboratories.
The Supreme Court had on Friday lashed out at the AAP government, describing as "horrific" the state of affairs in Delhi hospitals with bodies being stacked next to COVID-19 patients.
Taking note of the "gravity" of the COVID-19 situation, the Delhi High Court has also directed the AAP government and the Centre to increase the number of beds and ventilators for the coronavirus patients.
After the Supreme Court observation, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government said it accepts with utmost respect and sincerity the apex court's remarks and pointed out that it was trying its best to set up better infrastructure and provide quality healthcare to all COVID-19 patients in the city.
(With agency inputs)