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Delhi govt authorised to notify subsidised pvt Covid treatment

New Delhi: The Delhi government has now been given full authority to notify subsidised rates for private treatment of COVID-19 patients in the Capital following the meeting between Union Home minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Sunday.

According to the discussions held during the review meeting, the committee headed by NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul is expected to have submitted its report with recommendations to regulating private Covid treatment rates on Monday, following which the Delhi government will be able to notify them as prescribed by the committee.

The L-G and the Chief Minister were set to discuss these recommendations at the Delhi Disaster Management Authority meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday but has now been postponed for later this week. The committee, chaired by Paul, has been asked to devise a strategy that would ensure at least 60 per cent of patients at these private hospitals be charged lower rates and the rest could pay the normal charges.

The Sunday meeting chaired by Shah also yielded in a slew of other major decisions which included directing the Delhi government to prioritise the training of additional healthcare workers "immediately"; increasing testing facility to be able to conduct 18,000 tests per day; providing an additional 500 makeshift COVID-19 Railway coaches by the end of June; increasing bed capacity in Centre-run hospitals and healthcare facilities; decentralisation of COVID-19 management and ensuring that all mortuaries in Delhi are cleared of COVID-19 related bodies by June 16.

It has been decided that the Union Health Secretary would ensure 2,000 additional COVID-19 beds in Central government hospitals and healthcare facilities in the Capital, of which at least 1,000 should be arranged by June 21. While the 500 Railway coaches being provided to Delhi would be able to accommodate 8,000 additional patients, another batch of 500 makeshift units will be at the Delhi government's disposal by June 30, giving the Capital a total of around 16,000 COVID-19 beds just in Railway coaches. In addition to this, the Union Health Secretary has also been directed to arrange for 1,000 COVID-19 beds in the NCR for patients from Delhi.

Another key decision was to utilise 100 per cent of Delhi's capacity to ensure that the Capital can conduct 10,000 tests per day by June 16 and 18,000 tests per day by June 20. And as the caseload here is expected to surge, significantly, the Delhi government has been directed to assess the required number of doctors and paramedical staff so that requisite steps can be taken as soon as possible to train available personnel, who can then be deployed at short notice.

Also, while the Union Health ministry issued a late-night order asking all concerned authorities to not wait for COVID-19 test reports of suspect bodies before releasing them to families, it was decided in the meeting that all mortuaries in Delhi that have bodies of COVID-19 patients or suspected Coronavirus patients must be cleared by Tuesday (June 16).

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority has also now been directed to empower Deputy Commissioners in the national Capital as the administrative heads of management for all activities connected with disaster management and COVID-19 matters and that all MCD officers and police would now be brought under the administrative command of district Deputy Commissioners "irrespective of seniority".

Earlier, the MHA had announced that 100 per cent house-to-house surveys in containment zones will be conducted and that every person in containment zones should be tested for the contagious disease within seven days of surveying them.

Further, in an attempt to increase volunteer forces in the Capital, it was also decided that the Delhi government may requisition a volunteer force comprising people who have already recovered from COVID-19.

The Centre and Delhi government are also expected to direct all nodal officers for COVID-19 management in the Capital to ensure that the bodies are not allowed to languish in hospitals and that they "must be taken for cremation/burial without any delay or waiting for Covid test reports", as per a document prepared by the MHA on the key decisions of the meeting.

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