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Just 52 Days To Arrange 60,000 New Beds In Delhi

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With the number of novel coronavirus rising rapidly in the national capital, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi is staring at a towering task i.e. to arrange 60,000 Covid-19 beds in just 1.5 months.

Speaking to reporters today, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the government has estimated that the total number of Covid-19 cases in Delhi will rise to 5.5 lakh by July 31.

He said this means the government would then require 80,000 beds to handle these cases.

This statement comes two days after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a virtual press conference, said there are about 20,000 beds available in Delhi at present.

He said 10,000 of these beds are in hospitals run by the Delhi government, while an equal number are available at hospitals run by the central government in Delhi.

This means, in a span of just 52 days, the Delhi government will have to arrange at least 60,000 beds to be able to treat Covid-19 patients in the city.

In its June 9 bulletin on Covid-19, the Union health ministry said Delhi has a total of 29,943 cases. The scale at which cases are rising in Delhi can be understood from the fact that between June 1 and June 9, nearly 10,000 cases were added to Delhi’s tally.

Meanwhile, as per the projections made by the Delhi government, the city is likely to have 44,000 cases by June 15 and it would require 6,600 beds to treat them.

By June 30, the estimation is that these cases would rise to 1 lakh and the city would need 15,000 beds.

The number of cases is estimated to balloon to 2.25 lakh by July 15, requiring 33,000 beds.

And, by July 31, Delhi is projected to have 5.5 lakh cases. To handle this gigantic caseload, authorities would need 80,000 beds, the government’s projection say.

In a March 21 interview to the Indian Express, Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain had said the government has made a provision for 500 Covid-19 beds. He had said the government would rope in private hospitals if cases rise exponentially. On May 24, as cases continued to pile up in Delhi, the government issued an order asking all private hospitals and nursing homes with more than 50 beds to reserve at least 20 per cent of the total beds for Covid-19 patients.

Thus, in about 80 days (since March 21) the Delhi government has been able to increase the number of Covid-19 beds from 500 to nearly 10,000 in its hospitals. If its own projections hold true, it now has 52 days to arrange for 60,000 new beds to be able to handle the 5.5 lakh estimated cases as on July 31.

However, additional beds is not the only challenge that the Delhi government faces. If these projections hold true, the city would require an army of health workers to be able to cater to the new patients. The existing health staff is already exhausted and has been overworked for the past two months.

Besides this, the Delhi government will also have to arrange sufficient oxygen supplies, ventilators, and ICU beds to meet the mammoth challenge of treating fresh cases.

These projection become more worrisome because they come at a time when Delhi, like rest of India, is slowly opening up from the lockdown phase.

Courtesy – IndiaToday

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