'COVID-19 War Room' to come up in Capital soon

New Delhi: With the COVID-19 situation in Delhi seemingly showing signs of improvement, the Delhi government has decided to set up a 'COVID-19 War Room' to monitor the city's fight against the novel Coronavirus 24x7 and suggest measures to effectively deal with the prevailing situation, officials here said on Sunday.

The 'COVID-19 War Room', which is to be set up at the Delhi Secretariat, will be manned by around 25 experts and is expected to become operational in the next few days. According to the plan, the new strategic facility will cover all aspects such as testing, bed strength, medical equipment, ambulance infrastructure and information on containment zones.

Officials here said it is essentially meant to represent a snapshot of the city's position with respect to tackling the COVID-19 situation, the officials said, adding that Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev had already directed officials to set up the same as soon as possible. Officials said that the 'COVID-19 War Room' will also flag discrepancies in areas where authorities can take steps to prepare a robust system.

"The 'COVID-19 War Room' will closely monitor measures being taken by the authorities. It will also project the future requirements of medical infrastructure to deal with surging coronavirus cases. For instance, if there is a shortage of ambulances in the city, it will inform authorities about it," he said, adding that it will help authorities in the Capital to be as prepared as possible.

Another official noted that the district administration has also been taking steps in their respective areas and that the war room will operate in a centralised manner for better coordination among the districts. "An IAS officer has been given the charge of this war room for better coordination with higher authorities in the government. The COVID-19 War Room will have 20-25 experts who will work round-the-clock," the official said.

While both the Delhi government and the Centre have been adding beds and healthcare infrastructure in the city in anticipation of an increase in cases, the Capital will still face a concerning shortage of healthcare workers to man these beds and tend to the patients who will be occupying them.

The Delhi government has already roped in postgraduate medical students and undergraduate and postgraduate nursing students in their final year of studies to man ICU beds here. However, a positive sign has been that Delhi's hospitalisation rate for COVID-19 has been relatively stable over the last few weeks and so has the number of active patients.

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