Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking enhanced supply of oxygen and beds for Covid-19 patients in the Capital, where a record rise in infections was threatening to overwhelm the health infrastructure during the second wave of the disease, said a senior official in the chief minister’s office.
“The Covid-19 situation in Delhi is extremely serious. There is a severe shortage of Covid-19 beds and oxygen supply. At our level, we are doing everything that is possible. We need your help. Central government hospitals in Delhi collectively have around 10,000 beds, of which 1,800 are reserved for Covid-19. In the light of the severity of the situation, I appeal to you to reserve at least 7,000 beds for Covid-19 patients. There is a severe shortage of oxygen supply too. Please arrange oxygen for Delhi,” said the letter, a copy of which HT has seen.
He said Delhi reported 25,500 new Covid-19 cases, a record number of infections in 24-hour period. The state currently has 3,148 vacant beds against a total capacity of 17,609, and only 76 vacant ICUs against a total of 4,139, as on Sunday afternoon, government records said. According to the health department bulletin, 24,375 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in the previous 24-hour cycle reported on Saturday .
Kejriwal also acknowledged help received from the Centre so far but added that more was needed. “I have informed Dr Harsh Vardhan (Union health minister) and Mr Amit Shah (Union home minister) about the matter. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is providing 500 ICU beds in Delhi. I thank you for that. I shall be grateful, if you could please make it a 1,000 ICU beds. We have so far received immense help from the central government in fighting the pandemic. I hope you will help us on the aforementioned matters,” his letter said.
Kejriwal sent the letter to PM Modi shortly after he expressed concerns over shortage of oxygen supply and ICU beds in the Capital in a video message, while noting that the positivity rate had increased to around 30% from 24% within a day and only 100 ICU beds were currently available in the capital.
In the next two-three days, the Delhi government plans to add 6,000 beds to existing Covid-19 health care facilities at the Yamuna Sports Complex, Radha Soami Satsang Beas premises and in schools. It was also busy arranging for high-flow oxygen beds for the patients, the chief minister added.
Early last week, Delhi government designated 14 big private hospitals as dedicated Covid facilities, sparking protests by the private hospitals. The government revised the order on Wednesday allowing the hospitals to use 10%-30% of their beds to provide emergency care as well as follow-up treatment to some of their patients, reducing the number of beds accrued from 4,337 to 3,553.