Glaring shortcomings forced Shah to intervene, says Centre

The Centre, in an affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court on Friday, stated that glaring shortcomings in the Capital on the COVID-19 front led Union Home Minister Amit Shah to call a review meeting on November 15. “While there were regular advertisements on achievements of the Delhi government, including on dengue prevention and control, no ads on COVID-appropriate behaviour were to be seen,” stated the MHA affidavit.

Reacting to affidavit, AAP said it is extremely unfortunate that the Centre has chosen to play “dirty politics” at this critical hour. “The affidavit seems to have been drafted by a BJP spokesperson rather than by Union government, which is meant to work in collaboration with the States at the time of a pandemic. The affidavit is also factually incorrect,” the party said. The Centre said a Ministry of Home Affairs survey held in November of 114 private hospitals in Delhi found that the observance of discharge policy and prescribed Clinical Management Protocol was “very lax”, thus leading to a large number of patients not being given proper treatment. Even patients who were under home isolation were not properly traced. The Delhi government has now been asked to strictly comply with the prescribed protocols, the affidavit said.

“The report of a high-power committee headed by V.K. Paul, Member of NITI Aayog, had recommended that Delhi should plan for a surge of around 15,000 cases per day and accordingly provide for about 6,500 ICU beds.

Against this recommendation, GNCTD did not take any timely measures to increase ICU beds from the present level of around 3,500, thus causing a sudden pressure to come on the health and medical infrastructure in Delhi,” the affidavit said. The Centre said despite promising to increase the ICU (non-ventilator) beds by around 2,680, the Delhi Chief Minister, in a letter on November 19 to the Home Minister, expressed inability to enhance the beds by more than 912. The letter, the affidavit said, requested the Centre to create the additional 1,700 ICU beds.

AAP, however, countered that Mr. Shah had promised to provide 750 ICU beds within 72 hours in the meeting on November 15. “Till date, only 200 beds have been provided. We hope the Centre will provide the rest of the beds soon,” it said.

RT-PCR tests

One of the shortcomings listed by the Centre against the Delhi government was that despite repeated exhortations in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, the latter had not taken steps to enhance testing capacity, particularly for RT-PCR, which remained static at 20,000-odd daily tests for a long time.

“It is only after the review meeting of Mr. Shah on November 15, that it was decided that RT-PCR tests would be enhanced to around 60,000 daily and RAT tests to around 60,000 — both by November end, thus leading to a doubling of the total tests being conducted in Delhi,” the affidavit said.

(With inputs from Staff Reporter)

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 1:55:28 AM |

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