Amit Shah steps in to help Delhi combat pandemic

Shah said a house-to-house health survey will be conducted in containment zones across Delhi to improve contact mapping. The survey report will be available within a week, he said. At present, there are 241 containment zones across the city, accor...

Amit Shah
NEW DELHI: Union home minister Amit Shah announced a slew of measures to help combat Covid-19 in Delhi, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern over the increasing number of cases in the capital, including a ramp-up in testing, provision of 500 converted rail coaches with 8,000 beds and use of polling booths to test patients in containment zones.

Testing for the infection will be doubled within two days in Delhi and threefold in the next six days, and testing will now be done at every polling station in containment zones in the city, Shah said in posts on microblogging site Twitter on Sunday.

Shah said a house-to-house health survey will be conducted in containment zones across Delhi to improve contact mapping. The survey report will be available within a week, he said. At present, there are 241 containment zones across the city, according to officials, and aggressive contact tracing is needed in an equal number of buffer zones across these hotspots.


As the Centre stepped up efforts to contain the pandemic, Shah tweeted, “A panel has been formed under chairmanship of Dr VK Paul (of NITI Aayog) to provide 60 per cent of dedicated Covid-19 beds in private hospitals at a low rate. Paul committee will submit its report tomorrow on private hospitals. The Centre has assured the Delhi government of all necessary resources such as oxygen cylinders, ventilators and pulse oximeters to fight Covid-19.”

Shah also announced that to provide correct information and guidelines for small hospitals in Delhi, the Centre has constituted a committee of senior doctors in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for telephonic guidance and launched a helpline number (9115444155) on which callers can talk to volunteers or take appointments for outpatient department.

The number of Covid-19 cases in Delhi surged to 38,958 on Sunday from 20,834 on June 1 while the number of fatalities increased to 1,271 from 523 during this period.

Amid speculation that a stringent lockdown may be imposed afresh in Delhi to curb the spread of the pandemic, Shah called an all-party meeting on Monday. The meeting is likely to be attended by leaders of political parties from Delhi, including from the BJP.

On Sunday, the home minister first discussed the state of preparedness with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, and later held a second meeting, in which he directed mayors of the three municipal corporations in Delhi to ensure proper implementation of the decisions taken during the discussions.

Shah reiterated that national capital needs to be corona free, healthy and prosperous at the earliest under the leadership of the Prime Minister Modi. He also directed the Delhi Police commissioner SN Shrivastava to ensure all guidelines are enforced strictly, said a home ministry statement.

For effective monitoring, Shah said, all residents will be asked to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones. In addition, revised guidelines will be issued regarding the last rites of the deceased, which will help reduce waiting time at crematoriums. The country shares the pain of the families who have lost their dear ones, he said.

The bodies of suspected Covid-19 cases will be handed over to relatives immediately without waiting for lab reports, the health ministry said following a discussion with Shah. Bodies are to be disposed of with precaution, as per health ministry guidelines issued on March 15, said officials. The health ministry has set up three teams of four doctors each from AIIMS, Directorate General of Health Services, health and family welfare ministry, and Delhi government, to inspect major dedicated Covid-19 facilities proposed in Delhi and make recommendations, they said.

The home ministry ordered the transfer of six officers from the Centre to Delhi government for better coordination and management of Covid-19 cases. These include Awanish Kumar and Monika Priyadarshini from Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Gaurav Singh Rajawat and Vikram Singh Mallik from Arunachal Pradesh. Senior IAS officers SCL Das and SS Yadav were also deputed to the Delhi government, said the ministry.

Shah said the government has decided to utilise the services of scouts and guides, National Cadet Corps, National Service Scheme and other voluntary organisations as volunteers with health services. He asked the Union health ministry, Delhi government and others to ensure that the decisions taken during the discussions on Covid-19 are implemented at the ground level by the health department and other departments of central and Delhi governments.
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