Published On: Fri, Nov 27th, 2020

Centre to SC: Delhi govt advertised its achievements, no ads on Covid-appropriate behaviour

New Delhi: The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that Delhi government did not take preventive steps to contain the infection, though the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) was aware that the confluence of winter, festival season and pollution were likely to witness a surge in Covid-19 cases. The Centre said the Delhi government failed on many fronts in combating the spread of Covid-19.

Against this recommendation, GNCTD did not take any timely measures to increase the ICU beds

According to an affidavit filed by Ministry of Home Affairs, “While there were regular advertisements on achievements of Delhi Government, including on dengue prevention and control, no ads on COVID appropriate behaviour were to be seen.” And, the people, at large, were also not apprised about this through regular outreach measures.

The Centre said the report of a high-power Committee headed by Dr VK Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, had recommended Delhi should plan for a surge of around 15,000 cases per day and accordingly provide for about 6,500 ICU beds. “Against this recommendation, GNCTD did not take any timely measures to increase the ICU beds from the present level of around 3,500, thus causing a sudden pressure to come on the health and medical infrastructure in Delhi”, said the affidavit.

The Centre emphasised that despite repeated exhortations in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, the Delhi government did not take steps to enhance testing capacity, particularly for RT-PCR, which remained static at around 20,000 RTPCR tests for a long time.

The affidavit cited that the containment measures, as prescribed by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) including house to house surveillance, contact tracing, quaranting and clinical management, were also not done properly, which has led to the spread of infection in the national capital. “Patients who were under home isolation were not properly traced and/or their contact were also not traced effectively”, said the affidavit.

The Centre said in a survey of the 114 private hospitals in Delhi, carried out by MHA between November 17-18, it was found that the observance of discharge policy and prescribed Clinical Management Protocol was very lax, thus leading to a large number of patients not being given the proper treatment.

The Centre said even after it was committed that Delhi government would increase ICU (non-ventilator) beds by around 2,680, the Chief Minister, through a letter dated November 19, expressed his inability to enhance ICU beds in the Delhi (state government and private) hospitals by more than around 912, and has asked the Centre to create the additional 1,700 ICU beds.

“Furthermore, it is only after the review meeting of Union Home Minister on November 15, that it was decided that RT-PCR tests would be enhanced to around 60,000 by the end of November, and that of RAT tests to around 60,000 also by the end of November, 2020, thus leading to a doubling of the total tests being conducted in Delhi”, added the affidavit.

The Centre has filed the affidavit in the suo moto case in the proper treatment of Covid-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in the hospital. On November 23, the apex court had sought a response from the Centre on the Covid-19 situation in the country.

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