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Delhi government to move Supreme Court to make more ICU beds available in Delhi

KR Srivats TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on November 04, 2020

The city and neighbouring areas have seen a spurt in cases, leading to higher hospitalisation

The Delhi government on Wednesday said it would move the Supreme Court to vacate a Delhi High Court stay on its earlier order to reserve 80 per cent of intensive care units (ICU) beds in 33 private hospitals in the capital to treat Covid-19 patients.

On September 22, the Delhi High Court stayed the September 13 order of the Delhi government on a plea of the Association Healthcare Providers of India, saying that the order “arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed under the Constitution”.

The decision to approach the apex court on the High Court stay was announced by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who said the capital was witnessing a “third wave”. However, he urged the public not to panic and that he would hold a meeting on Thursday to review Delhi’s Covid-19 management.

“I want to inform the public that Delhi is reporting a surge in Covid-19 cases over the past few days. I would call this a third wave of the pandemic in the city because in the end of September and the beginning of October, daily Covid-19 cases had started to drop below 3,000,” Kejriwal told reporters here.

In the last 10 days, there were 50,000 cases of Covid-19 in Delhi with Tuesday alone seeing 6,725 cases. With the increase in Covid-19 cases not just in Delhi but also in the neighbouring cities such as Gurugram and Faridabad, there is a scramble for ICU beds in Delhi.

Bed count

Though the Delhi government claimed that 924 out of 3,176 ICU beds with or without ventilators are vacant in Delhi hospitals, a doctor manning ICU in a charity hospital in Delhi said all their ICU beds are occupied currently.

“The government should act immediately if it doesn’t want a crisis on hand,” he said.

According to the doctor, the ICU vacancies shown on the Delhi government portal are mainly from government hospitals and nursing homes which have just one or two dedicated ICU beds. “Unfortunately, patients go, if they can afford, first to private hospitals as they still do not have much trust in government facilities. Similarly, there are 60-odd nursing homes with a total of 136 Covid-19 ICU beds, which are mostly avoided by critical patients for want of critical services,” he said.

However, Kejriwal said there was no shortage of Covid-19 beds in the capital. “At present, there is no scarcity of Covid-19 beds in Delhi. There is no scarcity of any form of health infrastructure in the national capital. It has come to our notice that in big private hospitals, only a few ICU beds with ventilators are lying vacant. The issue will be resolved in a day or two once the SC vacates the stay by the HC,” Kejriwal said.

Published on November 04, 2020

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