Delhi’s fight against the ongoing coronavirus surge got its first shot in the arm on Wednesday as the Centre started delivering on the measures discussed to contain the spread of COVID-19, and tighten protocols to guard against future spikes.
At least 45 doctors and 160 paramedics have reached the national capital, and the remaining 30 doctors and 90 paramedics would reach by this weekend, said sources in the Home Ministry.
The doctors and paramedics from Central Armed Police Force would start working in the DRDO hospital near the Delhi international airport and the mega Covid facility in Chhatarpur, sources in the Home Ministry said.
“The Bharat Electronics Limited has dispatched 250 ventilators from Bengaluru,” a senior ministry functionary said. Some 35 BiPAP machines, an air pressure machine that improves breathing, have also been dispatched to the DRDO facility where an additional 750 ICU Covid beds have already been set up.
The Centre also plans to double Delhi’s existing ICU beds to 6,000 comes in view of spiralling cases, which according to a report could increase to 15,000 a day in the winter months. On Tuesday, Delhi’s daily case count doubled to almost 6,400 with an increase of some 20,000 tests. In the past fortnight, the city has already seem record infections of up to 8,000 COVID-19 cases a day.
It has also given a big push up to ramp up testing in Delhi after Monday’s meeting between Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after which a set of 12 measures were declared.
Some 1-1.2 lakh tests would be done daily by the end of November, with an increase in share of RT-PCR tests. Towards this, 10 mobile vans with a cumulative testing capacity of 20,000 will start functioning by next week.
“We will be able to conduct over 60,000 RT-PCR tests every day. Directions have been given to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to make arrangements,” a senior ministry official told NDTV.
The ministry of home affairs has already increased daily testing capacity starting by 10,000.
Five additional RT-PCR labs, including one at AIIMS-Delhi, have also started functioning round-the-clock.
More manpower, increasing the number of shifts, placing more equipment and private sector engagement – these are the measures that the country’s top medical research body ICMR has been told to adopt to augmenting the testing capacity of Delhi’s existing labs by 2,000 tests.
The Indian Railways’ existing 800-bed Covid isolation facility at Shakur Basti railway station has also been made a part of the plan to tackle the pandemic progress in Delhi’s crowded areas.
“Doctors and paramedics from CAPFs will man these coaches as COVID care and isolation facility,” a ministry official said.
Worried about Delhi’s growing positivity rate, the Centre government has asked authorities to increase house to house surveillance of active cases in containment zones and other vulnerable pockets for which 7,000-8,000 teams will be deployed – more than double of existing 3,000 teams.
“The MCD staff and other officers are being given orientation on how to do these surveys,” an officer said.
Delhi’s Covid positivity rate is 14 per cent while national average is about 4 per cent. It has a total of 4.9 lakh COVID-19 cases of which almost 1 lakh have been added since November 1. The number of active coronavirus cases is 42,004 with 7,812 deaths.