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60,000 tests a day, doubling ICU beds: How Centre plans to tackle Delhi’s Covid surge

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has constituted 10 teams of officials and doctors who are inspecting private hospitals in Delhi on Covid containment and treatment.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: November 19, 2020 9:34:11 am
60,000 RT-PCR tests a day in Delhi by November end: MHA on Covid situationOfficials said planning for house to house survey in Delhi was already at an advanced stage and the survey is expected to begin by the weekend and completed by November 25. (File photo)

In the wake of rising Covid cases in Delhi and daily death toll touching almost 100, the Centre on Wednesday announced a slew of measures that it is taking to contain the spread of the virus.

These include increasing the testing capacity in the national capital to 60,000 RT-PCR tests a day by November end, completing house-to-house survey by November 25, doubling the ICU beds at DRDO facility near the Delhi airport to 500 in the next four days and making 800 beds available through the Indian railways among others.

The steps are being taken on the directions of Union Home Minister Amit Shah following his meeting with key stakeholders on the issue on Sunday. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has already constituted 10 teams of officials and doctors who are inspecting private hospitals in Delhi on Covid containment and treatment.

Massive rush for Chhath Puja at the New Delhi Railway Station

“The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Govt of NCT of Delhi are working together to enhance RT-PCR testing capacity to 60,000 tests (daily) by end November. Testing capacity has already been enhanced by 10,000 tests/day on November 17,” the MHA said in a statement.

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To achieve this, the ICMR will help in augmenting capacity of existing Delhi labs by 2,000 tests by deploying more manpower, increasing number of shifts and placing more equipment. It will also involve private sector labs even as five RT-PCR labs including at AIIMS, Delhi have already started functioning round the clock, an MHA official said.

Civil Defence personnel takes photos of people who are not wearing mask before issuing a challan in New Delhi

“To bring testing closer to Delhi residents, ICMR will help Govt of NCT of Delhi in deploying 10 mobile testing labs for COVID with total capacity of 20,000 tests in phased manner beginning next week,” the MHA said.

Officials said planning for house to house survey in Delhi was already at an advanced stage and the survey is expected to begin by the weekend and completed by November 25. “Orientation meeting of DCs/DCs (MCD) & other stakeholders has been held by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,” the MHA said.

With increasing patient flow, the ministry is also working with DRDO to increase ICU beds at its Covid facility near the domestic airport. “DRDO to add 250 ICU beds to its already existing 250 ICU beds and also to create 35 BIPAP beds in next 3 to 4 days at its COVID hospital near Delhi airport,” MHA said.

Doctors check Covid-19 patients at CWG Covid Care Centre in New Delhi

Apart from this, the Indian Railways is making available train coaches with 800 beds at Shakur Basti railway station. As announced earlier by the MHA, most of this capacity enhancement will be matched by an increase in healthcare professionals drawn out from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).

“Already 45 doctors and 160 para-medics from CAPFs have reached Delhi for deployment at DRDO hospital near Delhi airport and at COVID care centre at Chattarpur. Remaining doctors and medics will reach Delhi in next few days,” the MHA said.

To make more ventilators available, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has dispatched 250 ventilators from Bengaluru which are expected to reach Delhi by the weekend, officials said. “MoHFW has delivered 35 BIPAP machines to DRDO COVID facility near Delhi airport. As many as 25 BIPAP machines for Delhi Govt to be provided by MoHFW,” MHA said.

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