A renewed effort in Delhi – editorials
Delhi is in the midst of a crisis. With an increase in cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), an increase in the death rate, widespread reports of the fight to be tested or admitted to hospital, and a projection of 532,000 cases by the end of July and the need for 150,000 beds by then, the pandemic has really come home to the national capital. It was clear that the Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, needed help. The fact that Delhi is the capital, there is a unique division of powers that exists between the Center and the state, and Delhi’s health facilities are used by citizens across the country, making it even more essential than the central government intervene.
On Sunday, after a meeting of the state disaster management authority, Interior Minister Amit Shah announced a set of much-needed and welcome measures. The test rate in the Capital will double in the next two days and will triple in six days; the Center will provide 500 rail cars, which will add another 8,000 beds to Delhi’s health infrastructure; there will be rigorous contact monitoring in the containment areas; a high-level committee, within two days, will present a report on the fees that private hospitals will charge for tests and treatment; new guidelines for funerals will be framed to reduce the wait time for cremations and burials; The Center will assign five senior officials to assist Delhi with the health crisis; a joint team will inspect facilities at all Covid-19 hospitals; and the Center will provide oxygen cylinders, ventilators, and other health supplies to the Delhi government.
Each of these measures is necessary. Increasing the evidence is the only way to track the infected and prevent further transmission. Contact tracing had nearly collapsed in the city, and a renewed effort is sorely needed. Private hospitals must be more responsible in their fee structures in times of the pandemic, and a degree of regulation will help. Delhi needs support from all sectors to improve hospital facilities and beds. What is inexplicable is why all this was not done before, and why the blocking period was not better used to anticipate and prepare for the current situation. As late as these interventions are, you are welcome and the focus should now be on implementing it. It is also important to constantly review the Delhi battle against Covid-19 and provide additional support if needed. For the good of the citizens of Delhi, the Center and the Delhi government should continue to work together at this time.