Testing times for Delhi Govt: LG overrules Kejriwal's decision to reserve state-govt and private hospitals for locals
Delhi LG Anil Baijal on June 8 overruled Arvind Kejriwal govt’s decision that reserved Delhi-government run and private hospitals exclusively for symptomatic Delhiites. New order issued by LG stated to follow ICMR guildelines, asymptomatic to also be tested along with symptomatic, including the ones from other states and said that “anyone can get treated for COVID-19 in Delhi government-run and private hospitals.”
After reports following the information from the “Delhi Corona” app, which did not coincide with the availability of beds in top hospitals in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’ decision of reserving hospitals run by both the Delhi government and private sector to Delhiites on June 7, sparked rounds of controversies. While he stated that some private hospitals which perform specialised surgeries will be open to all, questions were raised on how fair this decision by the Delhi government would be to curb the bed availability crisis in the national capital.
With India relaxing its lockdown restrictions after 3 long months, Delhi borders that have started to unseal today, will face an added amount of patients who come to the capital from other states to avail ‘top class’ health services in the city.
In what is being argued as a political move by some, Delhi government’s decision is already starting to face backlash from opposition parties. BSP chief Mayawati has slammed the Kejriwal govt’s decision on giving exclusivity to Delhi residents and has said it is very unfortunate that if an outsider falls sick in Delhi, he will be denied treatment as he is not a local resident.
While Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta has said that any person, irrespective of whether they are from Delhi or outside, should be treated in hospitals of the city; Delhi Congress president Anil Kumar has raised concerns about Arvind Kejriwal’s government being answerable to those from other states, especially from UP and Bihar, who live in Delhi but do not have any identity or address proof for the same.
All in all, the opposition has accused this move of the Delhi government as an ‘insensitive’ one, to divert attention from the inadequacies of the Kejriwal government to curb Coronavirus spread in the capital.
Criticism on rise for Delhi Government
The Kejriwal government has been facing several criticisms in the recent times, of the way in which it has been tackling the pandemic. In a video, the apathetic condition of LNJP Hospital, Delhi, is conveyed by a relative of Kamal Gupta, a recent corona suspect deceased patient.
According to the relative in the video, Kamal was taken from hospital to hospital in the past couple of days, before he succumbed to death, reportedly due to the mismanagement in vacancies of beds in Delhi hospitals.
According to the relative, after being denied admission in BL Kapur Hospital, Kamal Gupta was taken to LNJP Hospital, where he died on the morning of June 7. The family member in the video is seen revealing several ordeals about the facility provided by the government run hospitals. He claimed that the patient who had “breathing issues, was not provided with oxygen facilities on request and upon his mask, which fell off in the hospital’s toilet floor, was not even provided with a fresh mask by the authorities when asked.”
On the other hand, Delhi Government in its orders on June 6 said that, “no patient who is having COVID symptoms and is in moderate and severe category be denied admission on pretext that patient is not having COVID positive report.” According to the order, all such patients may be kept in COVID suspect patient area, till the test report is received.
Accordingly, if found positive then he/she will be kept in the COVID hospital and otherwise transferred to non-COVID hospital for further management. This order came in the wake of hospitals in Delhi denying patients who are facing problems in breathing and required immediate help.
In a recent PIL filed by Former Indian Medical Association (IMA) chief Dr KK Aggarwal, moved the Delhi High Court challenging the government’s decision of excluding “asymptomatic patients or pre-symptomatic patients” from Covid-19 testing. His PIL added that, the Delhi government’s earlier order on June 2 completely “violates and infringes the fundamental right to health of the citizen which also includes the right to avail medical test and treatment.”
Another shocking incident that came to light was reports of the disturbing sight of Delhi’s LNJP Hospital, that showed 108 bodies of the deceased being piled one on top of the other, as its mortuary had the capacity to accommodate only 45 bodies at a time.
Off late, the Opposition BJP in Delhi that controls Municipal Corporation recorded more Covid-19 deaths than what was declared by the state government, making them claim whether the Kejriwal government is under-reporting Coronavirus deaths.
Delhi LG Anil Baijal has now directed authorities & departments concerned of NCT of Delhi, to ensure that ICMR strategy for COVID-19 testing in India issued on 18th May is strictly observed in NCT of Delhi without any deviation. LG overruled Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s order to test only symptomatic cases for COVID19 and in the new order by the LG states to follow ICMR guildelines, ‘asymptomatic to also be tested.’
While many other states in India like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, continue to face similar issues, it is the national capital which remains to be in the radar. As the Union Territory opens up its borders to embrace people incoming from other states to avail better health facilities, testing waters continue to surround the Delhi government in the coming times.