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Delhi to test more at lower cost in coming week; no lockdown plans, says Kejriwal

CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "Many people are speculating whether another lockdown in Delhi in being planned. There are no such plans." With over 41,000 cases, Delhi has the third highest cases in the country.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 15, 2020 5:31:16 pm
Customers at Sarojani Nagar market in New Delhi (Express photo/Praveen Khanna).

Delhi is set to see a more vigorous testing strategy in the coming week with the capacity being increased from 8,600 to 18,000 Covid-19 tests per day in the next five days.

In a meeting with Delhi representatives of political parties Monday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah discussed ramping up of the city’s testing capacity, capping the cost of testing in private labs and fixing treatment charges at private hospitals.

Amid the surge in COVID cases in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the government has no plans to impose lockdown in the capital. Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal wrote, “Many people are speculating whether another lockdown in Delhi in being planned. There are no such plans.”

Delhi BJP Chief, Adesh Kumar Gupta said that the party has raised the demand that the cost of testing should be brought down by 50%. At present, a Covid-19 test in Delhi costs Rs 4,500. “This demand has been approved by the minister… We also suggested that charges at private hospitals should be fixed. Taking cognisance of the matter, the Home Minister has constituted a committee which will submit a report within 2 days. Based on the report, price capping will be done for private hospitals,” Gupta said.

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and Delhi Congress Chief Anil Kumar Chaudhary were also part of the meeting. After the meeting, Singh told reporters that with the new rapid antigen detection test for Covid-19 was also discussed. “This test will be available for Rs 450 and results will be out in 15 minutes,” he said.

The Indian Council of Media Research (ICMR) suggested the use of the test in containment zones in the city to the health ministry on Monday.

Officials also said that the possibility of party members being linked to Covid hospitals for help and feedback was also discussed at the meeting, along with the need to rapidly increase the number of beds in the city as the number of cases rise.

With over 41,000 cases, Delhi has the third highest Covid tally in the country.

The meeting comes a day after Shah held two high-level meetings with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, mayors and commissioners of Delhi’s three municipal corporations to strengthen the strategy to fight the coronavirus.

On Sunday, the home minister announced that the Centre would extend all possible help to Delhi. He also said that testing would be trebled in the coming days and that 500 railway coaches will be provided. A committee had been constituted under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog member V K Paul to ensure the availability of 60 per cent beds by private hospitals at lower rates and fix the rate of tests and treatment.

Earlier, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat had dismissed the rumors of imposing a fresh lockdown.

The COVID-19 tally climbed by over 10,000 and breached the 40,000 mark in just six days in Delhi with an average of over 1,600 new cases on a daily basis, a sharp spike from the 79 days it took to reach the 10,000 mark, according to an analysis. It took eight days for the number of cases to rise from 20,000 to 30,000 in Delhi, while it took 13 days for the tally to progress from 10,000 to 20,000.

-With ENS inputs

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