Hotels de-linked as Kejriwal cites improving situation

New Delhi: With the number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients steadily declining in the Capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday directed officials to de-link hotels that were attached to private hospitals last month in a bid to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure in Delhi.

Accordingly, the Department of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday issued orders asking all private hospitals here to "wind up the facilities operating in hotels with immediate effect".

The Chief Minister said most hotel beds for COVID-19 patients were running empty given that the pandemic was starting to come under control with less than 11,000 active cases and over 88 per cent of all patients having recovered.

Kejriwal, in a tweet on Wednesday morning, said: "Some hotels were attached to hospitals to increase the number of COVID beds. In view of the improving situation and all hotel beds lying vacant for the last many days, these hotels are now being released."

In early June, around 40 hotels were attached with the Delhi government after orders were issued to 11 District Magistrates regarding the same. The linking of the hotels enhanced the capacity of the COVID-19 beds by 4,600, the Delhi government said in a statement.

The move came after initial estimates by Central government experts had shown a dramatic surge in cases by the end of July and subsequent panic among authorities to find a way to significantly ramp up bed capacity as soon as possible. Moreover, it can now safely be said that Delhi was seeing its peak in June, reporting as high as 4,000 new cases daily.

Even after the hotels were attached to hospitals, initial trends suggested a very low occupancy rate, following which one of the districts had allowed the de-linking of three hotels, unaware of the fact that they did not have the authority to do so.

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