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COVID-19 pandemic | Amit Shah says RTPCR capacity to be doubled in Delhi, along with an additional 300 ICU beds

Delhi recorded 3,235 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the infection tally to over 4.85 lakh on Sunday, while ninety-five more fatalities pushed the death toll to 7,614.

November 15, 2020 / 08:29 PM IST

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on November 15 took stock of Delhi’s COVID-19 situation in the wake of a recent spike in cases in the national capital, officials said.

To deal with the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Delhi, the Centre on Sunday said it will soon make available 300 additional ICU beds and double the number of daily RTPCR tests in the national capital.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain and senior officers of the central government attended the meeting chaired by Shah.

The home minister reviewed the situation arising due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in Delhi and discussed ways to deal with it.  He said in the meeting that 300 ICU beds will be made available at the DRDO COVID hospital (Dhaula Kuan) in addition to the existing 250 ICU beds

To increase the number of oxygen beds, the home minister said that the 10,000-bedded Chhatarpur COVID care centre will be strengthened and some of the hospitals of the municipal corporations of Delhi will be converted into dedicated COVID hospitals.

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In a series of tweets in Hindi, Shah also said that the daily RTPCR tests in Delhi will be doubled, the capacity of the testing laboratories will be enhanced and mobile testing vans of the Union Health Ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will be deployed in the areas where the COVID-19 threat is high.

Delhi recorded 3,235 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the infection tally to over 4.85 lakh on Sunday, while ninety-five more fatalities pushed the death toll to 7,614.

The meeting was convened to devise a strategy to contain the spread of the virus in Delhi, especially in view of the festive season and decreasing temperatures accompanied by rising pollution, the official said.

On November 2, a meeting convened by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla had attributed the third surge in coronavirus cases in Delhi to festivals and a greater movement of people, accompanied by laxity in adhering to the basic principles of COVID-appropriate behaviour.

However, Kejriwal last week blamed pollution for the spike in the cases.

The meeting chaired by Bhalla had resolved that efforts would be made for testing, contact-tracing and treatment, especially in the critical zones.

It also emphasised that travel by metro should be carefully regulated, in accordance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

While the numbers of fresh COVID cases and active cases are going up, the administration is focussing on testing, contact-tracing and treatment.

The fresh coronavirus cases on Sunday in Delhi were detected from 21,098 tests conducted the previous day.

The positivity rate increased to 15.33 per cent, according to a bulletin issued by the Delhi health department.

The national capital had recorded its highest single-day spike of 8,593 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

On Thursday, 104 fatalities, the highest in a day in over five months, were recorded.

According to the health bulletin issued on Saturday, the tally of active cases rose to 44,456 in the national capital while the recovery rate stood at over 89 percent.

The number of containment zones in Delhi was 4,288 as on Saturday.

The sudden spike in coronavirus cases comes amid the festive season and rising pollution levels.

While Durga Puja celebrations ended on October 25, Diwali was on Saturday and Chhath later this week.

Follow our LIVE blog for the latest updates of the novel coronavirus pandemic

The National Centre for Disease Control, in a report drafted recently, had warned that Delhi needed to be prepared for about 15,000 fresh COVID-19 cases per day, taking into account the winter-related respiratory problems, a large influx of patients from outside and festive gatherings.

In June, when the number of COVID-19 cases was on the rise in Delhi, Shah had swung into action after criticism in different quarters of the Delhi government’s handling of the crisis.

At that time, there were complaints of non-availability of beds in hospitals and difficulty in getting tests done in laboratories.

By leading from the front, the home minister improved the facilities by increasing the numbers of daily testing, hospital beds and setting up temporary hospitals and COVID care centre.

A committee set up by Shah also fixed the rates for testing, beds in private hospitals, ICUs and isolation beds.

At a meeting on June 18, the home minister had said a common strategy should be framed for Delhi and the National Capital region (NCR) to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and added that suburbs like Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad cannot be separated from the national capital in this battle.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
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