Every household in Delhi will be tested for Covid-19 by July 6, following the biggest single-day jump in new cases yet. The plan is similar to mass-testing used by China after an uptick in infections in Wuhan earlier this month.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government announced the new Covid-19 response plan on Wednesday. Under the new guidelines, city authorities will “screen” every house in the Indian capital over the next 12 days to see how far the virus has spread.
Delhi ramps up testing and restrictions due to coronavirus
CCTV cameras will also be used to monitor the worst-affected neighborhoods and to strengthen surveillance methods across the capital. Public officials, local epidemiologists, and IT professionals will monitor the central government’s Aarogya Setu contact-tracing app.
The new strategy comes as Delhi, with a population of between 18 and 20 million people, reported a spike of 3,947 new infections in 24 hours on Tuesday, the steepest daily increase registered by any Indian state so far, bringing the total cases there to 66,602, with 2,301 deaths.
Officials were pushed to revise their containment strategy after the Indian supreme court called the situation in the capital “horrendous, horrific and pathetic.”
On June 21, Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah had advised the Delhi administration to send all coronavirus patients in densely populated areas to Covid-19 care centers, allowing those who have necessary self-care facilities or who are suffering from other diseases to isolate at home. That decision was met with criticism from Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who said that the new order was confusing, at odds with Kejriwal’s plan and puts unnecessary pressure on the health system.
Two competing models?
Today Delhi has two coronavirus models – one is the Amit Shah model, which says that anyone testing positive has to go to a quarantine centre. The other one is the Kejriwal model, which says that a team visits the patient’s home to assess the severity of the case,” Sisodia said.
Delhi’s home isolation plan has been working very well. I have personally spoken to many patients on phone who underwent home isolation. I wud urge Centre and LG not to tinker wid it and restore it back pic.twitter.com/aaFLl2aXY1
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 24, 2020
Kejriwal tweeted on Wednesday that “Delhi’s home isolation plan has been working very well.”
India’s attempt to ramp up mass-testing follows China’s move to test 10 million residents of Wuhan over 19 days in a bid to prevent a second wave of infections.
As of June 24, India’s coronavirus tally stands at 456,183 cases and 14,476 deaths, making it the fourth worst-hit country in the world, according to data released by the federal Health Ministry.
Indian healthcare system in danger
Ashwani Jain succumbed to the coronavirus in an ambulance as his family pleaded with several hospitals to take him in, the latest victim of the pandemic sweeping through the Indian capital and exposing a deadly shortage of hospital beds.The fact that hospital beds in Delhi are scarce further compounds the fear of the coronavirus sweeping through the Indian capital.
“They don’t care whether we live or die,” said his 20-year-old daughter Kashish, whose uncle, Abhishek, sat with Ashwani in the back of the vehicle on its desperate journey across Delhi.
All of the hospitals the 45-year-old businessman’s family tried refused to admit Ashwani, even though an app set up by the city government indicated Covid-19 beds were free, Abhishek told AFP.
With surging infections highlighting the precarious state of the Indian healthcare system, the death of Jain and others like him have heightened anxiety in Delhi over the growing threat.
More than 1,200 have died from the virus in the Indian capital and more than 1,000 new cases are being reported each day.
Mortuaries are overflowing with bodies and cemeteries and crematorium staff say they cannot keep up with the backlog of victims. Some local Delhi councils say the real death toll is twice the number given by the regional government.
A sting operation by the Times Now TV channel showed five Delhi hospitals asking coronavirus patients to pay up to $5,250 in order to be admitted.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused private hospitals of lying about available beds and promised tough action if they were found extorting money.
After this, Home Minister Amit Shah said 500 of some 20,000 train coaches reserved as coronavirus wards would be “immediately” allocated to the state by the national government, adding some 8,000 beds.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk
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