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Centre to accelerate testing, increase hospital beds in Delhi

Union home minister Amit Shah chaired a meeting with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, health minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday.ptiPremium
Union home minister Amit Shah chaired a meeting with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, health minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday.pti

The surge in covid-19 cases in Delhi prompted the Union home ministry to announce a series of measures to contain the spread of the virus, including an increase in testing capacity to 100,000 per day, while making more hospital beds available to treat patients

The surge in covid-19 cases in Delhi prompted the Union home ministry to announce a series of measures to contain the spread of the virus, including an increase in testing capacity to 100,000 per day, while making more hospital beds available to treat patients. The ministry’s intervention comes amid a spike in air pollution levels and dipping temperature in the national capital, which make it a breeding ground for the virus.

Sunday’s meeting, chaired by Union home minister Amit Shah, was attended by Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi’s lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Delhi has so far recorded 485,000 cases with 7,614 fatalities. While around 438,000 people have recovered, there are approximately 45,000 active cases as on Sunday.

Considering that in the third wave the capital’s covid-19 count has been increasingly rapidly at over 7,000 cases per day for the past week, Shah said testing infrastructure, including laboratories and mobile vans, will be increased, more covid beds will be made available and the government will ensure the availability of oxygen cylinders for patients.

“Seeing the rising number of cases in Delhi, the home ministry chaired a meeting today to look into the covid-19 situation in Delhi. It is important for the people and all the agencies to work together. The biggest problem right now is of hospital beds. Since 30 October, there has been a rise in the number of cases, and ICU beds are exhausted. The Centre assured that 750 ICU beds will be made available over the next few days. Currently there are 60,000 tests being conducted, which will be taken up to 100,000 tests a day," Kejriwal said.

According to SAFAR-India, the air quality service of the ministry of earth sciences, the PM 2.5 level was at 545. Levels above 60 are considered to be unhealthy. The Union health ministry said high pollution levels could make people more prone to catching the coronavirus infection, which manifests itself in the respiratory tract.

“There is definitely an ongoing wave of covid-19, and air pollution is making it worse. So, we need to act on multiple fronts to get a hold as far as this pandemic is concerned," said Dr Randeep Guleria, director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

Neetu Chandra Sharma contributed to this story.

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