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Delhi asks PM for 1,000 ICU beds, says schools may be shut till there is vaccine

Doctors in Delhi have pointed towards late hospital admissions and fast-filling ICU beds as reasons for the increase in the number of deaths.

Written by Mallica Joshi , Astha Saxena | New Delhi | November 25, 2020 4:32:30 am
Kejriwal also said that pollution from stubble-burning in neighbouring states was a “significant contributor” in making the third Covid wave more “dangerous”.

DESCRIBING the uptick in Delhi’s mortality rate as “a matter of concern”, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday to reserve 1,000 ICU beds in Centre-run hospitals, such as AIIMS and Safdarjung, to tide over a shortage. And given the surge in Covid cases, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said schools are likely to remain shut till a vaccine is available.

At present, 88 per cent of ICU beds with ventilators and 73 per cent of all ICU beds without ventilators are occupied, straining the capital’s healthcare system and leading to delays in critical care.

Besides, the city has recorded 2,110 deaths in November so far, and is set to overtake the 2,330 deaths recorded in June when the fist surge was seen. On Tuesday, Delhi recorded 6,224 cases and 109 deaths, with the 10-day mortality rate rising from 0.83 per cent at the beginning of the month to 1.89 per cent.

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“The Delhi government increased sample collection in September to 60,000 per day. The third wave of corona is still going on in Delhi and it has seen the peak…with 8,600 positive cases. The rising mortality rate is a matter of concern. We hope that the mortality rate will also reduce along with the declining positivity ratio in the coming days,” Kejriwal told the Prime Minister during the meeting with chief ministers, according to a statement issued by the Delhi government.

Later, speaking to The Indian Express, Sisodia said: “At present, it is an endless wait. We are not certain if we can even think of reopening schools before a vaccine (is available).”

Schools in the city have been shut since March 16. While they have reopened in other states, such as Haryana and Maharashtra, Delhi has resisted the move. Feedback sought from parents, officials said, has made it clear that they are not ready for children to return amid the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said the overall mortality rate of 1.6 per cent was better than that in other cities such as Ahmedabad (4.2), Ludhiana (4), Mumbai (3.9) and Amritsar (3.8).

Doctors in Delhi have pointed towards late hospital admissions and fast-filling ICU beds as reasons for the increase in the number of deaths.

Kejriwal also said that pollution from stubble-burning in neighbouring states was a “significant contributor” in making the third Covid wave more “dangerous”.

“He said that he wanted the CMs of the neighbouring states of Delhi to work as a team to eliminate stubble burning under the leadership of the PM,” the statement said.

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