COVID-19: Amit Shah orders air-lifting of doctors to Delhi, crackdown on unmasked

Updated: 16 November, 2020 09:41 IST | IANS | New Delhi

In view of the shortage of medical staff in Delhi, the Modi government has decided to provide additional doctors and paramedical staff from the CAPFs and they would soon be air-lifted to Delhi, the Union Home Ministry statement said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah

Apart from providing 750 ICU beds in the DRDO Centre out of which 500 will be made available in the next two days itself and doubling of RT-PCR tests in the national capital to nearly 1.25 lakh tests daily, the Modi government on Sunday decided to provide additional doctors and paramedical staff from the CAPFs, in view of the shortage of doctors in the city.

In view of the shortage of medical staff in Delhi, the Modi government has decided to provide additional doctors and paramedical staff from the CAPFs and they would soon be air-lifted to Delhi, the Union Home Ministry statement said.

In what can be bad news for those who refuse to wear masks in spite of government's directions and mass media campaigns, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday directed the Delhi government and Delhi Police Commissioner to "strictly enforce the necessary measures, especially wearing of face masks, so that there is no laxity" in observance of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

Shah, once again taking charge of Delhi's fight against Covid-19 in his hands against the backdrop of rising number of cases and the increasing strain on the capacity of medical infrastructure in the city hospitals, took the decisions at an emergency meeting.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi Lt. Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Health Minister Satyendar Jain were also present at the meeting which was also attended by the Union Home and Health & Family Welfare Secretaries, Niti Aayog's Dr. V.K Paul, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava, the DRDO Secretary, the Armed Forces Medical Services Director General and other senior officials.

The meeting began with Paul making a presentation, which highlighted the deteriorating situation of Covid-19 in Delhi.

"It was pointed out that the number of active cases per day has increased substantially. While the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) continues to remain in control, the health and medical infrastructure, such as dedicated Covid-19 beds, beds with ventilators, and ICUs, is already showing signs of strain. Accordingly, it is essential to enhance surveillance, strictly enforce containment measures, increase testing, and rapidly build up the requisite medical infrastructure," the Home Ministry statement said.

Addressing reporters after the meeting, Kejriwal said: "Covid cases have been sharply rising ever since October 30. We still have a decent number of Covid beds, but ICU beds are fast getting exhausted. The Centre said that 500 ICU beds will be made available in the DRDO centre in the next couple days and additionally another 250 in the coming days."

In a series of tweets, Shah informed about the "directions" given in the "high-level meeting" to review the growing cases of Covid-19 and the medical infrastructure in Delhi.

"Today gave various instructions in the meeting. First, the RT-PCR test in Delhi will be increased two-fold. Secondly, mobile testing vans of the Ministry of Health and ICMR will be deployed where there is a high risk of getting Covid and making maximum use of the capacity of labs in Delhi," he said.

Shah also asked the Kejriwal government to increase capacity of hospitals in Delhi and availability of other medical infrastructure. He added that 250 to 300 ICU beds will be added in DRDO's Covid hospital located in Dhaula Kuan, where, presently, around 250 beds have been provided with ICUs, out of the total available 1,000 Covid-19 beds.

In a strong message to officials, Shah said that containment strategies cannot be allowed to be taken lightly. "There should be no let up in strictly enforcing these containment strategies. The concerned officers, particularly those at district levels, would be personally responsible for ensuring compliance in this regard, and any deviation observed in this regard would be viewed seriously," the Home Ministry statement said.

Shah also said that the 10,000-bed Covid Centre in Chhatarpur will be further strengthened with an aim to increase the availability of beds with oxygen facilities. He also said that some identified hospitals of the MCD will be converted into dedicated hospitals for the treatment of Covid patients with mild symptoms.

It was asserted in that meeting that dedicated multi-departmental teams will visit all private hospitals in Delhi to clearly indicate the availability of beds and medical conditions while all previously initiated containment measures, such as the establishment of container zones, contact tracing, and quarantine and screening, will be reviewed.

Shah instructed that especially those who are at high risk of getting the disease should be constantly reviewed so that there is no shortage in implementing preventive measures. He also instructed to track those under home isolation and shift them to hospitals, should the need arise, to save more lives.

He also instructed to prepare protocols for plasma donation in severe corona cases and for providing plasma to affected persons. A high level committee headed by Paul, and comprising the AIIMS and ICMR chiefs will report on it soon, Shah added.

"To save more and more people in Delhi, the Central government will provide oxygen cylinders, high flow nasal cannula and all other essential health equipment to Delhi," the Home Minister assured.

But he asked the Kejriwal government to inform people about Covid appropriate behaviour which he said is the best way to stay safe. He asked for a strong communication strategy to educate people about it and inform them about the negative impact of the disease on long-term medical and health parameters.

The meeting came at a time when the national capital is witnessing skyrocketing cases on a daily basis for the past few days. Earlier also, Shah had stepped in to contain the situation after Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia predicted a massive surge.

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First Published: 16 November, 2020 09:34 IST

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