At the Battle of Covid-19, Delhi turns to volunteers | HT Editorial – Editorials
Last week, Delhi Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal revealed a plan to involve non-governmental organizations (NGOs), volunteers, the National Cadet Corps and National Service System Cadets, and scouts to join the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Asymptomatic people and those who work for NGOs and within the age group of 18 to 55 years can join the effort. Volunteers will be deployed to study suspected cases; strengthen surveillance and management of isolation cases; manage Covid-19 helplines; and helping older people, among other steps.
The capital faces a crisis. With official figures projecting up to 532,000 Covid-19 cases by the end of July, Delhi needs to vastly increase its testing and health infrastructure in terms of hospital beds, personal protective equipment, oxygen cylinders, and ventilators. You will also need a much larger number of health care personnel. While there can be no substitute for mastering the knowledge and skills that doctors, nurses, paramedics, and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) bring to health care, in this time of crisis, further deployment of staff to help. These civil society volunteers must be used for two particular tasks. The first is contact tracking, and the second is to ensure more rigorous surveillance for people who are isolated in the home. Delhi needs all the hands it can get.