Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, 19 November, said that a fine of Rs 2,000 will be imposed on anyone who is found not wearing a mask in public, soon after he held an all-party meeting to discuss the situation arising out of the COVID-19 spike in the national capital.
Appealing to people not to take the customary dip at Delhi’s water bodies during Chatt Puja, which may exponentially increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19, Kejriwal said his government has directed the raising of non-ICU bed reservations at private hospitals in the city from 50 percent to 60 percent for COVID-19 patients. He also added that, “the decision to reserve 80 per cent ICU beds in private hospitals for COVID-19 patients has been implemented starting today.”
Speaking after the meeting, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj said that the number of RT-PCR tests will be enhanced from 18,000 to 27,000 daily in Delhi. CM Kejriwal, who previously deliberated over shutting markets to curb the spread of the virus, also took the decision to shut markets that may prove to be hotbeds of infection.
Meanwhile, Delhi BJP President Adesh Gupta called for markets to remain open with COVID-19 guidelines in place, saying that the need of the hour is ICU beds and ventilators.
“If the Delhi government had taken the right measures, people would not have had problems celebrating Chhath Puja together. Markets should remain open with COVID-19 guidelines. The need of the hour is ICU beds and ventilators.”Adesh Gupta, Delhi BJP President, as quoted by ANI
ICU Beds to be Increased
Delhi has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases since the end of the October.
The chief minister had called the all-party meeting, amid what is being reported as a third COVID-19 wave, which saw a record spike of over 8,000 cases last week.
According to NDTV, the CM had visited the GTB Hospital on Wednesday to assess the preparedness of Delhi’s healthcare facilities and said:
“Over the next few days, the Delhi government will increase 663 ICU beds in its state-run hospitals; from Friday, 238 extra beds would be added in the GTB hospital. The Central government has assured it would ready 750 ICU beds in the DRDO Hospital. With this, Delhi would have an additional 1,413 beds in intensive care units across the city reducing the existing shortage to some extent.”
Further, Kejriwal took to Twitter to point out that despite the huge spike, the doctors have managed the situation very well.
Sharp Surge in Delhi
The cases in Delhi had reached an all-time high of 8,593 on 11 November. Since then, fewer cases have reported over the next few days, but on some days, the number of tests conducted was far lesser than the usual.
On Wednesday, 19 November, the health data also showed that the number of fatalities recorded over the last 24 hours was 131, which is the highest single-day count in the national capital till date and pushes the total number of deaths to 7,943.
Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had on Wednesday approved the Delhi government’s proposal to allow only 50 guests to attend a wedding, instead of the earlier limit of 200.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI and NDTV.)