The new rule mandating individuals testing positive to show up at Covid care centres for further assessment is “nearly impossible” to enforce, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Tuesday, urging L-G Anil Baijal to roll it back.
In a letter to Baijal, Sisodia wondered where ambulances to transport so many patients to care centres would be arranged from, especially against the backdrop of the capital registering over 3,000 cases a day. “In a situation like this, how are ambulances to transport so many patients going to be arranged? For the district administrations and the health department already stretched to the limit in carrying out testing, tracking and containment measures, this is a near impossible task,” he wrote.
On Tuesday, the city reported 3,947 new cases and 68 deaths. The total number of cases are 66,602, with the toll at 2,301.
With only around 170 vehicles operating directly under the fleet of CATS (Centralised Accident and Trauma Services), ambulance services, which were outsourced to a private firm in 2016, the city is highly dependent on private operators, which had to be roped in to cater to rising demand.
In the first week of June, Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev had ordered immediate requisition of 328 ambulances with private operators. Ola and Uber also extended their services to ferry patients, but these vehicles cannot be used in case patients need oxygen and other critical support.
As per the new patient management SOPs released by the Delhi Directorate General of Health Services on June 22, patients testing positive through lab-based RT-PCR method will have to be taken to a care centre in an ambulance for assessing eligibility of home isolation.
While the patient is at the care centre, a team under the district surveillance officer will visit his/her home to check if there are at least two rooms with a separate toilet for the patient. In case facilities are in place, the person will be sent back for home isolation, and if facilities are found to be inadequate, the patient will be admitted at the care centre.
If the patient has mild symptoms with underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or is “immuno compromised”, he or she will be shifted to Covid health centres or hospitals.
Sisodia said since the new system was put in place by Baijal in his capacity as chairperson of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), patients have been facing difficulties: “When a person tests positive, the question that arises is how he or she is going to travel to the quarantine centre. And on being found eligible for home isolation, how will the person return?”
“This new system does not benefit anyone. So far, on being found positive, teams of government doctors used to visit the homes and give advice over the phone daily. This system was working in a very robust manner. Is it alright to discontinue this and force patients to queue up at quarantine centres? I say this based on ground feedback that the new system has been a source of trouble for people,” he said.
The government requested the L-G to convene a meeting of the SDMA to change the norms, with Sisodia stressing that it may result in major chaos in the city.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines