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Delhi must act together | HT Editorial – Editorials


Delhi is witnessing an increase in cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19). For about 10 days, you have witnessed more than 1,000 positive cases each day. It is the third most severely affected state in the country, after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, but on a per capita basis, in terms of population, Delhi will rank as the most affected region in the country. It has one of the highest positivity rates in the country (this measures the number of people who are positive for every 100 tests). And its own panel of experts believes that the Capital should be prepared for 100,000 cases by the end of the month. Despite the alarming picture, the anecdotal evidence suggests that people are struggling to get tested and admitted to hospitals. There have also been a series of government directives, against private hospitals and private laboratories, which presents a picture of a rather inconsistent political landscape.

The Delhi government needs to act together and follow a triple approach. The first is science. To his credit, he allowed science to determine his focus in the first few weeks. But this needs to be reinforced. Science dictates widespread testing, a rigorous process of locating contacts, home isolation for asymptomatic cases and those with mild symptoms, hospitalization for all other cases, and oxygen and, if necessary, ventilation support for severe cases. The second is transparency. Delhi needs to be more transparent with the data. He prided himself on a low death rate, until a review process now yields a higher death count than initially assumed. You must provide a district breakdown of hospital testing and data. All governments, worldwide, are overwhelmed by the challenge of health. Rather than blaming others and becoming defensive, Prime Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal needs to be honest about the magnitude of the crisis.

And finally, you need to comply. There appears to be a significant gap in government claims about the number of beds available and the ability of patients to obtain those beds. For a patient, failure to obtain medical assistance at this time almost amounts to criminal negligence. Blaming private hospitals, which must help face the challenge honestly, with maximum treatment prices, seems like an evasion of responsibility. The government of the Aam Aadmi party has been known for its dedication. And if you require Mr. Kejriwal and his cabinet to go outside, visit hospitals and get the system up and running, please do so. The CM called for Delhi to be opened and stated that the city’s health infrastructure was poised for a surge. It is time to translate that promise into reality.

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