As over 23 healthcare workers test positive for COVID-19 in Delhi, the shortage of PPE kits remains a worry for the state government, a Twitter exchange between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and BJP MP Gautam Gambhir Monday suggested.
Responding to Gambhir’s offer to the Delhi government to make use of Rs 1 crore from his MPLAD funds to buy PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment), Kejriwal said that the lack of availability of the kits, not money, was hindering the procurement process.
“Gautam ji, thank u for ur offer. The problem is not of money but the availability of PPE kits. We wud be grateful if u cud help us get them from somewhere immediately, Del govt will buy them. Thank u,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Gautam ji, thank u for ur offer. The problem is not of money but availability of PPE kits. We wud be grateful if u cud help us get them from somewhere immediately, Del govt will buy them. Thank u. https://t.co/YtFP4MjYo3
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 6, 2020
According to a Delhi government health bulletin, dated April 2, the designated hospitals had 3261 PPE kits, 243 ventilators, 20566 N-95 masks, 4.63 lakh surgical masks and 22366 sanitizers.
In his tweet, Gambhir attached a copy of a letter he wrote to Kejriwal, offering Rs 1 crore from his MPLAD (local area development scheme) fund for the procurement of equipment for medical staff and treatment of COVID-19 patients.
“CM @ArvindKejriwal & his Dy say funds are needed. Though their massive egos didn’t allow them to take 50 L from my LAD fund earlier, I pledge 50 L more so that innocents don’t suffer! 1 CR would at least solve urgent need for masks & PPE kits for days Hope they prioritize Delhi,” Gambhir tweeted.
On April 4, Kejriwal had told reporters that the Delhi government wrote to the Centre on April 3 seeking PPE kits to meet the shortfall. When contacted, a Delhi government spokesperson said that new kits have not yet been made available by the Centre.
Delhi has so far recorded 616 COVID-19 cases and seven deaths. The positive cases also include 23 healthcare workers including doctors, nurses and other staff members.
To meet the shortfall, the Delhi government has also allowed the hospitals to procure the kits – which include full-body suits, visors, goggles, masks, gloves and shoe covers – on their own from private manufacturers. However, the procurement cost has been capped at Rs 1087 per kit or rates being offered by HLL, a Public Sector Undertaking.
A five-member committee of experts, headed by the director of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences SK Sarin, has suggested that the designated hospitals to treat corona patients in the city need to have a stock of 5000 PPE kits each in a scenario where they start admitting over 100 positive cases a day.
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