Updated: May 28, 2021 8:12:10 am
Families of those who have died due to lack of oxygen in the capital may receive up to Rs 5 lakh as ex-gratia compensation, after a case-by-case deliberation by a Delhi government appointed six-member committee.
This compensation will be over and above the Rs 50,000 ex-gratia compensation previously announced by the Delhi government for the kin of every person in Delhi that died of Covid. The government had also announced an additional Rs 2,500 monthly pension for families which have lost their breadwinner.
During the peak of the second wave in the city, Delhi had seen two major cases of admitted patients dying in hospitals due to oxygen supply running out—21 patients had died at Jaipur Golden Hospital’s Covid critical care unit and 12 had died at Batra Hospital’s ICU.
The newly constituted committee—comprising an official from the Directorate General of Health Services, and senior doctors and administrators from various hospitals—will “assess on case-to-case basis, complaints and/or representations received regarding death due to lack of oxygen, for grant of ex-gratia compensation over and above the no-fault ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 already ordered by the government”.
The quantum of compensation will be finalised by the committee, by drawing up an “objective criteria” limited to Rs 5 lakh in each case.
The government also formed two committees to prepare for a possible third wave of Covid cases. While one committee will look at the health infrastructure, the other will devise a management strategy.
The first committee has 13 members from the administrative sections of the Delhi government and will prepare a plan for isolation, amount of oxygen required, and oxygen and ICU beds etc.
The committee will look into creation of a cadre of 10,000 trained paramedical volunteers, along the lines of civil defence volunteers. “This cadre must be developed in collaboration with medical training organisations/ universities/ disaster management experts, etc. who will be available to be deployed at short notice at different parts of the city. They can then be deployed in Covid care centres, field hospitals, for support for patients in home isolation other roles”.
They will find locations for temporary facilities, Covid care centres and field hospitals that can be set up quickly, look into supply chain management services and items, “especially oxygen and critical drugs such as Tocilizumab and Remdesivir” and identify any other bottlenecks. They have also been tasked with ensuring that all large hospital facilities must have their own oxygen generation plants wherever possible.
Delhi faced an unprecedented crisis of oxygen availability in the first two weeks of May as the number of patients hospitalised shot up. The committee has also been asked to assess the requirement of tankers for oxygen transportation and to ensure that procurement is done timely.
The second committee has been tasked with analysing data trends, experiences of other cities across the globe and conducting modelling exercises to foresee and forecast the onset of such waves and the changing/mutating character of the virus.
It will also “devise clear guidelines on when to announce lockdown and to what degreeor extent. For example X cases and y+ positivity rate for z days means announce strict lockdown with the following guidelines, and similarly for limited lockdown etc”, according to an order passed on Thursday.
This committee comprises two senior officers of the health department and six senior doctors. As per the order, they have come up with clear plans for healthcare facilities based on the positivity rate and what the requirements will be in future.
“There must be a clear plan at 5/10/15/20/25/30% positivity rate, which facilities will
have how many beds allocated, which are the new facilities being added in the city as the percentage goes up along with allied components required to operate these facilities. The plan should be prepared in such a manner that each stage of the plan can be activated within a short time frame,” the order states.
The city recorded 1,072 Covid cases on Thursday at a positivity rate of 1.53%, down from Wednesday’s 1.93%. Since May 21, the city has been reporting a positivity rate below 5%, which has been consistently dropping over the course of the week.
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