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Delhi hospitals only for residents; city reopens its borders today

New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced that the hospitals run by the Delhi government and private entities will only treat Delhiites during the Coronavirus crisis while the city's borders will be reopened from Monday.

Addressing an online media briefing, Kejriwal said hospitals run by the Centre will have no such restriction, and if people from other states come to the national Capital for specific surgeries, they can get medical treatment at private hospitals.

The announcement comes a day after a five-member panel constituted by the AAP government suggested that the health infrastructure of the city should be used only for treating Delhiites in view of the raging COVID-19 crisis.

"Over 90 per cent people want Delhi hospitals to treat patients from the national Capital during the Coronavirus pandemic. Hence, it has been decided that government and private hospitals in Delhi will only treat patients from the national Capital," Kejriwal said.

The Chief Minister had last week sought views of the people in Delhi on the issue, while announcing the decision to close the city's borders.

"Delhi's health infrastructure is needed to tackle the Coronavirus crisis at the moment," Kejriwal said on Sunday.

The Health Department has directed all allopathic hospitals owned or run by the Delhi Government to appoint a senior Nursing officer who will be available round the clock. The management of the hospital has to provide a separate room or chamber for the Senior Nursing Officer.

"The reception or help desk at the hospital shall fill up the information in prescribed performa in respect of each COVID positive patient, on the basis of the information. The Sr Nursing officer shall take a decision on admission of the aforesaid patients in the respective private COVID Hospital," read the order.

Health Department also stated that residents of the Capital will have to provide Voter ID; or Bank, Kisan, Post Office current passbook; or Ration card, passport, driving license, Income tax return filed or assessment order; or latest water, telephone, electricity, gas connection bill in the name of the patient or immediate relation (family member); postal department's post received, delivered in the patient's name at the given address; in case of minors the mentioned documents in the name of parents will suffice. Adhar card made before June 7, 2020 will be accepted.

However, exceptions have been made for patients who are to undergo transplantation, oncology, neurosurgeries. Irrespective of the place of residence, they will get treated for the same, the order stated. Also, any medico-legal victims of road accidents, acid attack, happening within the Capital will continue to get treatment irrespective of the place of residence.

There are around 40 Delhi government-run hospitals in the national Capital including LNJP Hospital, GTB Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital. Among the major Centre-run hospitals in the city are RML Hospital, AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital.

Delhi government hospitals have around 10,000 beds while the Centre-run hospitals have almost the same beds, Kejriwal said, adding that it will strike a balance and protect the interest of those belonging to the national capital and other states as well.

He said that the Centre-run hospitals will continue to treat people belonging to other states and his government has not issued any separate order for the same.

"We are going to reopen Delhi's borders tomorrow (Monday). Malls, restaurants and religious places will open but hotels and banquets will remain closed as we might need to convert them into hospitals in the coming time," Kejriwal also said.

In its report, the panel had pointed out that Delhi will need 15,000 beds by the end of June and if people of other states are allowed to get treatment, all beds here will be occupied within just three days, Kejriwal said during the online conference.

"Till March, Delhi used to treat all people of the country, but at the time of this crisis, Delhi hospitals need to be reserved for the people of Delhi," he said. The panel, headed by Indraprastha University vice-chancellor Dr Mahesh Verma, had on Saturday submitted its report to the government.

The Delhi government had asked the panel to guide it on healthcare infrastructure augmentation and overall preparedness of hospitals to battle COVID-19 in the national Capital.

The panel was also asked to guide the government on any other area where strengthening of infrastructure is required to better manage the pandemic in Delhi.

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