Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday paid a surprise visit to Lok Nayak Hospital, Delhi government’s main COVID-19 dedicated hospital. Mr. Shah enquired about the overall death rate at the city hospital.
Suresh Kumar, medical director of the hospital, briefed Mr. Shah about the situation. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and other State government officials were also present.
A small part of the interaction was uploaded on the official YouTube channel of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Two minutes after Dr. Kumar started the presentation describing the legacy of the 90-year-old hospital, Mr. Shah interjected to know the percentage of patients who recovered and those who died of the infection.
Dr. Kumar informed Mr. Shah that Lok Nayak Hospital had started treating COVID-19 patients since March 17 and had admitted 5,000 patients in the last three months. He said that more than 100 babies of COVID-19-positive women were born at the hospital so far, adding that it was the highest in North India.
To this, Mr. Shah asked the percentage of patients who recovered and succumbed. Dr. Kumar said that the death rate was 2-3% and 97% patients had recovered.
Dr. Kumar said they received patients from the entire North India and those who came complained of respiratory or kidney failure. He said the patients came from Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurugram.
Mr. Shah followed this with a query on the number of dead patients from Delhi and others.
Dr. Kumar said that 455 patients who died were from Delhi and only 14 from other States and around “20-25% of total patients” were from outside Delhi.
The Home Minister posed another question on the number of patients who were presently admitted in the hospital. Dr. Kumar said so far, they had treated 3,300 COVID-19 patients and on Monday, 768 patients were admitted of which 500 were confirmed positive and remaining were suspected patients with symptoms.
In the last 24 hours, the hospital reported 20 deaths, including 11 COVID-19 cases.
Earlier, an order issued by the AAP-led Delhi government offering State government hospitals only to COVID-19 patients from Delhi was reversed by L-G Anil Baijal.
Mr. Shah has held at least three meetings with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the past three days to discuss a strategy as number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi has crossed 41,000 and the number of deaths rose to around 1,300. Mr. Shah also met Mr. Baijal on Sunday and it was decided to provide 500 railway coaches for COVID-19 patients.
CCTVs in wards
A statement by the Home Ministry said that Mr. Shah had directed Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev to “instal CCTV cameras in COVID-19 wards of hospitals so that there is proper monitoring and problems of patients can also be resolved”. An order to this effect was passed later in the day.
He asked the Chief Secretary that back-ups for canteens supplying food should also be established so that in case there is an infection in one canteen, patients can continue to get food without disruption.
The Union Minister directed that psycho-social counselling of doctors and nurses engaged in service to humanity through the treatment of COVID-19 patients should also be done, the statement said.
None of the Delhi government Ministers were present during the interaction.