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CM Kejriwal points to sudden spike, Delhi cases at 20

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also met Medical Superintendents of Delhi government hospitals Friday and empowered them to appoint additional employees on contract for the next three months.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | March 21, 2020 1:53:39 am
Delhi news, Delhi city news, Delhi Coronavirus news, Delhi Kejriwal Coronavirus news, Indian Express news CM Kejriwal briefing the media, Friday. (ANI)

As four new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the national capital Friday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered the closure of malls in Delhi.

He also met Medical Superintendents of Delhi government hospitals Friday and empowered them to appoint additional employees on contract for the next three months. The CM also asked to immediately procure all necessary supplies, such as medicines and ventilators.

He discontinued non-essential services of the government until March 31.

“We are in a critical phase now… We should ensure adequate medical facilities and equipment to deal with the corona crisis in hospitals. We have to ensure there are sufficient number of isolation beds and wards available,” he said.

He directed the officers to ensure there is no shortage of medical supplies. “All the ventilators must be in a working condition. All the Medical Superintendents would also need to contact their suppliers as well as manufacturers of the medical equipment to take note of the current stock of the ventilators that they have. We will procure all the stock of ventilators from those suppliers and manufacturers. We will conduct a Cabinet meet for that and will give approvals to you on an urgent basis,” Kejriwal told the officers.

The CM allowed employees of non-essential service to work from home. “In essential services, employees above 55 years of age can also preferably work from home, which shall be decided by the head of the department,” a statement issued by the government said.

Essential services include medical services, power and water supply services, sanitation services, public transport and solid waste management, among others. The CM asked all department heads to prepare a list of staff who will be allowed to work from home. While employees above the age of 55 will be given the option to work from home, doctors will not have this option. The wages of permanent as well as contractual workers will not be affected by this decision, the chief minister said.

“There is a sudden spike in the number of coronavirus cases in Delhi in the last 24 hours. All the officials of the Delhi government and the people of Delhi have fought this battle very hard, because of which we have been able to contain the community spreading. But there is a need to expedite our efforts to combat the situation,” he said.

Between Thursday and Friday, 10 people have tested positive.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain met a group of doctors on Friday. After the meeting, it was decided that the government will bear the treatment cost of doctors, nurses and paramedics staff, who are deployed for the treatment of COVID-19 patients at hospitals in case they fall sick. “Apart from these, in extreme circumstances, if any health worker dies, the government will compensate the families as per the guidelines followed for soldiers and policemen,” said an official.

“Many doctors, nurses and paramedics are worried about their health as well. But they can’t avoid going to work as this is a crucial time for all of us. We raised this issue with the minister and he had agreed to both the requests we have made,” said Dr Arun Gupta, president of the Delhi Medical Council (DMC).

With four people having tested positive for COVID-19 in Delhi Friday, the total number of confirmed cases in the capital rose to 20. On Friday, a 58-year-old man from North Delhi with a travel history to United Kingdom, a 32-year-old man from West Delhi with a travel history to Paris have been tested positive for the virus. Two people— a 35-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman from Jahangirpuri— who were in contact with a 38-year-old woman from Dilshad Garden who tested positive Wednesday, were traced and tested positive.

Meanwhile, the Gautam Budh Nagar administration ordered the closure of all malls, except shops selling essential items, till April 2.

Here’s a quick coronavirus guide for you to stay updated: Who all should be tested for Covid-19 and when? | How should you quarantine yourself? | How often (and how) should you clean your home? | What is the Janata Curfew announced by PM Modi? | Who are restricted from coming to India, and from when? | How long can the virus live on surfaces or in air around you? | Still more Coronavirus Q&A Explained news here

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