Covid-19 crisis: No plan for another shutdown, says Delhi CM Kejriwal

Topics Coronavirus | Delhi | Lockdown

Home Minister Amit Shah at Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Hospital in Delhi photo: pti
As Delhi braced itself for another spike in Covid-19 cases and Tamil Nadu extended a strict lockdown in Chennai and adjoining districts till June 30, Home Minister Amit Shah undertook a survey of Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash (LNJP) Hospital for its preparedness in dealing with a new wave of cases. At an all-party meeting, the cost of testing and treatment, especially by private hospitals, was the primary concern of all political leaders.  

Briefing reporters after the meeting, BJP leader Adesh Gupta said the government had agreed to subsidise 50 per cent of the cost of testing. A decision on capping hospitalisation charges by private hospitals will come after the NITI Aayog member V K Paul-headed committee gives its recommendations in the next two days.

However, while preparing for the worst, the Delhi government withdrew an order issued on Sunday, ordering all nursing homes in the Capital with capacities of 10-49 beds as Covid-only, after it was advised that mingling Covid-19 patients with existing non-Covid patients at nursing homes could lead to disastrous health consequences. Nursing home owners told the Delhi government they did not have the equipment to handle the highly infectious disease.

But despite widespread fears that the national Capital had not seen the worst of the infection yet, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the government was not contemplating another lockdown spell. 

Delhi’s border with Uttar Pradesh remains closed and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future, though Haryana allowed travel without restrictions to and from Delhi.

Meanwhile, the Telangana government has announced it will cap testing rates in private labs at Rs 2,200. The treatment charges in a private hospital have been capped at Rs 4,000 per day for isolation ward, Rs 7,500 per day for intensive care unit (ICU) without a ventilator, Rs 9,000 per day for ICU with ventilator facility. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao directed officials to conduct tests to about 50,000 people in 30 Assembly constituencies in 10 days to build confidence among the public. Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar said the state has conducted 42,000 tests to date and ruled out any community transmission.

At the all-party meeting, Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh said that a new test that will cost only Rs 450 will soon be available in Delhi. 

The Delhi government has already issued an order to private and government labs, asking them to work with their full capacity and increase their Covid-19 testing capacity. According to the order, private labs will have to give results within 48 hours. Quoting the home minister, Gupta said, by June 20, the Delhi government will start conducting 18,000 Covid-19 tests per day.

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