Kejriwal accompanied Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on a visit to a temporary hospital set up by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the city.
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Covid-19 Hospital on Ulan Batar Marg near the airport in the Delhi Cantonment area, has 1,000 beds, including 250 in the Intensive Care Unit.
“Less and less people in Delhi are now requiring hospitalisation, more and more people are getting cured at home. Whereas there were around 2,300 new patients daily last week, the number of patients in hospitals has gone down from 6,200 to 5,300. Today, 9,900 corona beds are free,” Kejriwal posted on Twitter before the visit to the hospital in the afternoon.
Afterward, the CM said, “For now, there is no scarcity of hospital beds. We have over 15,000 beds, out of which 5,300 are occupied. There is a paucity of ICU beds. If there is any spike in Covid cases, these ICU beds are very critical for us.”
Of the 996 ICU beds available in Delhi without ventilators, 434 are currently unoccupied. Another 898 ICU beds are equipped with ventilators, of which 338 are currently available.
Kejriwal thanked the Centre for starting the facility: “I thank the central government on behalf of Delhiites. It (the hospital) has 250 ICU beds, which is very much needed in Delhi at the moment.”
Delhi has had 99,444 cases of novel coronavirus infection so far, and has 25,038 active cases currently.
The DRDO hospital was readied in just 12 days. The facility, constructed using rapid fabrication technique, has air conditioning valves running through the ceiling. The ICU ward is named after Col B Santosh Babu, the Indian Army officer who lost his life along with 19 of his men in the clash with Chinese soldiers in Galwan Valley on June 15.
The facility will be run by a team of the Armed Forces Medical Services, and will be maintained by DRDO. The Ministries of Home and Health, along with the armed forces and the Tata Trust, have helped build the hospital.
After the visit, Home Minister Shah tweeted: “PM Narendra Modi ji is fully committed to helping the people of Delhi in these challenging times and this Covid hospital, yet again, highlights the resolve. I thank DRDO, Tatas and our Armed Forces Medical personnel who have risen to the occasion and helped tackle the emergency.”
The air conditioning ducts will release pressurised air inside the facility, and will not re-circulate the air to ensure that clean, non-infected air is available inside, an official at the site said. The hospital will be opened to patients on Monday, after the process of installing the air conditioning is completed in the general wards.
Lt Gen Dr Madhuri Kanitkar, who was present during the visit of Kejriwal and the Union Ministers, said 600 personnel, including doctors, nursing officers and paramedical staff, will be deployed during the first month.
DRDO spokesperson Narendra Arya said: “The hospital is a referral facility and will be run by the Armed Forces Medical Services. Some preparations are ongoing still.”
Counselling will be provided for the mental well being of patients. Each bed is equipped to have oxygen, and X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG), haematological test facilities, and ventilators are available at the facility, apart from a Covid test lab.
A statement issued by the Press Information Bureau said the Home Minister had held a series of meetings since June 14 to review Covid-19 management in Delhi-NCR. “An urgent need to augment the existing hospital beds capacity… was discussed between the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence on the modalities of deploying a 1,000 bed hospital in a span of less than 14 days… Critical cases will be referred to AIIMS… Commissioning of this Hospital will contribute to an increase of 11% additional Covid-19 beds in Delhi, thus overcoming the current critical situation,” the statement said.
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