Delhi is witnessing a severe shortage of beds and oxygen for Coronavirus patients, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting the centre to extend all possible help to the national capital to overcome the situation.
“At our level, we are making all efforts but we need your help,” Mr Kejriwal said as he requested the centre to increase reserved beds for Covid patients in central government hospitals in Delhi.
“There are about 10,000 beds in central government hospitals in Delhi. Of these, only 1,800 beds have been reserved for Corona. Considering the seriousness of the situation, we request that at least 7,000 beds should be reserved for Corona,” he said.
“There is also a severe shortage of oxygen in Delhi. Oxygen should also be provided to us immediately,” he added, saying that the same has been communicated to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and also Home Minister Amit Shah this morning.
Mr Kejriwal also requested the centre to consider increasing the number of ICU beds in Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Covid facility to 1,000 from 500.
“So far, we have received a lot of support from the central government during this pandemic. I hope that you will definitely help us on the above mentioned topics as well,” he added.
At Delhi government-run hospitals, NDTV found several families who had struggled for beds and oxygen.
Mohammad Areeb, 25, lost his 60 year old mother Saira as he ran from one hospital to another for a bed. He said, “It was very difficult. There were no beds in private hospitals. Government promises that there are sufficient beds in government hospitals but even in the Emergency department in government hospital it took us three hours to get her admitted, by then her situation deteriorated. Patients are dying. Today I have lost a family member. Tomorrow someone else will. But the pain will be the same for everyone. Delhi’s situation is bad and the government needs to do something as soon as possible.”
Others like 22-year-old Shubh Jain could not get oxygen for his grandmother, who was later admitted to LNJP hospital. He said, “We could not rent or buy an oxygen concentrator. Its not available anywhere. Tried several suppliers in Daryaganj. All said its out of stock. They said they import these from outside and there are none available right now. It would take 2-3weeks to have them in stock. Its the same with oxygen cylinders.”
The government is desperately trying to scale up the number of available beds as the national capital struggles to cope with an exponential rise in Covid cases.
Earlier in the day, the chief minister said that less than 100 ICU beds are available in the national capital where over 25,500 new cases have been reported.
Pointing out that the positivity rate has gone up from 24 per cent to 30 per cent in just 24 hours, he said due to fast pace in increase of COVID-19 infections, hospital beds and oxygen for patients are rapidly depleting in the city.
Mr Kejriwal also said the Commonwealth Games Village and some schools are being turned into facilities for Covid patients and 6,000 new beds are expected in the coming days.
Beds, oxygen and essential drugs are in short supply as Delhi logged an unprecedented 24,000 new cases over 24 hours on Saturday evening.