Delhi govt. tells SC COVID-19 cases are going down

A view of the Supreme Court of India.   | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

The Delhi government informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that the COVID-19 recovery rate in the national capital is a whopping 92%.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, senior advocate K.V.Viswanathan, for Delhi, said only 5% positivity was detected from 78,090 COVID tests done as of December 2.

When the court asked whether there was any means to cross-check the veracity of these statistics, Mr. Viswanathan said he would place on record the audit mechanism by which the figures had been reached. He said the figures had been compiled from accredited centres, laboratories and authorities.

“Cases are going down. The situation is being monitored at highest level. We don’t want to be adversarial. Why did the Centre have to blame us? The Delhi government is working overtime,” Mr. Viswanathan submitted for the Delhi government.

He added that the Lieutenant Governor was in charge of the COVID-19 pandemic management.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta countered to ask why the Delhi government had to think that the Centre was blaming it. “What is the need to think like that? There is no blame,” Mr. Mehta said.

Mr. Viswanathan said the Delhi government understood the need to treat the pandemic as a national calamity.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs had recently filed an affidavit holding the Delhi government responsible for the “massive increase” in COVID-19 infections and resultant strain on medical infrastructure in the national capital.

On November 30, the Delhi government responded in an affidavit that its “consistent efforts” had seen a “declining trend” in the spread of COVID-19 infections.

Rejecting the Centre’s claim that the Delhi government was ill-prepared for the spike in cases due to the festival season, the affidavit had said the total number of COVID-19 ICU (intensive care units) beds available in Delhi is 5,010 presently, with an expected increase of another 1,522 ICU beds.

Mr. Viswanathan referred to how Chief Minister Kejriwal had written to the Union Home Minister to increase the number of ICU beds by 1,214 in Central government hospitals like the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, etc. He said the Delhi government, notwithstanding this request, had gone ahead to approve the procurement of 1,200 bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) devices, a kind of ventilator, from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. It said 300 of these machines would be arriving next week, with an equal number of them reaching every week.

“In a short while, we will have 6,200 beds, including the BiPAP ones. If the Centre contributes, we will have more than 7,000 [beds],” Mr. Viswanathan submitted.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 11:56:26 AM |

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