Delhi has the third highest number of coronavirus cases in India. (File)

New Delhi:

Amid rise in the number of coronavirus infections in Delhi, a panel set up by the Union Home Ministry has recommended lowering the cost of isolation beds and treatment at the intensive care units at the private hospitals in the national capital in a huge relief to COVID-19 patients. The recommendations come after Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a series of meetings over the last few days to check the spread of the highly infectious illness, which has affected nearly 50,000 people in the city.

The panel has recommended slashing the cost of isolation beds to nearly half; treatment at the intensive care units without and with ventilators has been capped between Rs 13,000-15,000 and Rs 15,000-18,000. “To provide relief to the common man in Delhi, HM @AmitShah constituted a committee under Member of @NITIAayog to fix rates charged by Pvt hospitals in Delhi for isolation beds, ICUs without ventilator support & ICUs with ventilator support (sic),” the Union Home Ministry tweeted this afternoon. 

“Committee has recommended Rs 8,000-10,000, 13,000-15, 000 & 15,000-18,000 including PPE costs for isolation bed, ICUs without & with ventilator respectively to all hospitals as compared to the current charges of Rs 24,000-25,000, 34,000-43,000 & 44,000-54,000 (excluding PPE cost) @HMOIndia,” it said in another tweet.  

Committee has recommended Rs 8000-10000, 13000-15000 & 15000-18000 including PPE costs for isolation bed, ICUs without & with ventilator respectively to all hospitals as compared to the current charges of Rs 24000-25000, 34000-43000 & 44000-54000 (excluding PPE cost)@HMOIndia

— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) June 19, 2020

The national capital has the third highest number of COVID-19 patients in India after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Coronavirus cases in the city may touch the 5.5 lakh-mark by July 31, according to the Delhi government.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that the cost of testing in the city-state has been capped at Rs 2,400. “Rapid antigen testing has started from today in Delhi that gives the result in 15 minutes. I hope people in the city will no longer face any hassle in getting tested,” he tweeted.

Last week, the Supreme Court had blasted the Arvind Kejriwal government over its handling of the pandemic, calling the situation in the city “horrendous, horrific and pathetic”. “Patients are running from pillar to post to get admitted while large numbers of beds are vacant. According to some reports, a government hospital in Delhi had bodies in lobby and waiting area. Inside the ward, most beds were unoccupied,” the court had said. It had also sent a notice to the centre.

It also asked the Delhi government to explain the fall in coronavirus testing in the city.

After the top court’s rap, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday began a series of meetings with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other senior officials to review the situation in the city. 

Amit Shah’s office today said that the city’s testing capacity has significantly increased within a few days.

“On directions of HM @AmitShah to increase testing capacity & quick delivery of results in Delhi – testing via Rapid Antigen testing methodology was started yesterday. 7,040 people have been tested in 193 testing Centres. Testing will continue with increased numbers in coming days,” the Home Ministry tweeted.

“Sample testing has been doubled immediately in pursuance of decisions taken by HM @AmitShah in series of meetings. A total of testing samples of 27,263 have been collected in #Delhi from 15 to 17 June 2020 against the daily collection which varied between 4,000-4,500 earlier,” it said in another tweet.

Across India, coronavirus tally has soared to 3.8 lakh cases; more than 12,500 have died so far.



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