Delhi to reserve govt hospitals only for its residents in view of COVID-19

The move is based on feedback from Delhiites and a five-member committee of doctors

covid-delhi-pti Suspected COVID-19 patients wait to be examined by medics at a government hospital in New Delhi | PTI

Hospitals run by Delhi government will be reserved only for residents of the capital in the coming months in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases in the city, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Sunday.

The Delhi Cabinet took the decision to reserve its government’s hospitals for Delhiites based on the feedback received from the residents of the capital and the opinion given by a five-member committee of senior doctors.

In addition to the Delhi government’s hospitals, COVID-19 beds in private hospitals in the capital will also be reserved for the city’s residents. However, those private hospitals or facilities which are not dedicated to COVID-19 care will be open for people from all over the country.

Also, the hospitals run by the Central government in the capital will continue to be open for people from outside Delhi.

The Delhi government hospitals as well as hospitals run by the Central government in the capital have around 10,000 beds in all dedicated to patients of COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Kejriwal had sought suggestions from the people of Delhi on two things—whether to open the borders of the capital and if the hospitals in the city be reserved only for its residents in view of the rapid spread of the viral infection. More than 7.5 lakh suggestions were received, the chief minister said, adding that 90 per cent of the people feel that the city’s hospitals should be reserved for Delhiites.

“The issue before us is that Corona cases are rising fast in Delhi. We have arranged beds in our hospitals for Corona patients. If our hospitals are kept open for people from all over the country, where will the people of Delhi go,” said Kejriwal.

The five-member doctors’ committee, Kejriwal said, is of the view that Delhi’s hospitals should be reserved for Delhiites as 15,000 COVID-19 beds will be required in the city by the end of June. The panel also said that if patients from other states are allowed to get admitted in Delhi, the city will run out of beds in three days.

“The Delhi Cabinet, based on these inputs, has taken a balanced decision. The borders of Delhi will be opened tomorrow, but Delhi government hospitals will only be for the people of Delhi,” the chief minister said.

The Delhi Cabinet has also decided in favour of opening malls, religious places and restaurants in the capital from tomorrow in line with the guidelines issued by the Central government.

However, hotels and banquet halls not being opened for the time being since they might be required to be attached to hospitals and be converted into COVID-19 facilities.

“We have gradually reopened the economy with relaxations in the lockdown. But that does not mean that Corona is over. It is actually spreading fast. I appeal to you all with folded hands to observe social distancing, wear masks and wash your hands regularly,” Kejriwal said.

He said he had a special appeal to make to the senior citizens, saying that for them, the lockdown continued since they are the most vulnerable. “Treat the situation as if the lockdown continues for you. Stop interacting with your children and other members of your family. Keep yourselves to a separate room. These precautions are necessary since the maximum deaths are those of the elderly,” he said. He added that people with comorbidities such as cancer, diabetes or respiratory diseases also need to observe additional precautions.