Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi today assured that there will be coronavirus testing for all in Delhi during an all-party meeting to discuss the management of the coronavirus situation in the National Capital Region, which includes Delhi and parts of Uttar Pradesh and parts of Haryana.
The coronavirus tests per day in Delhi will reach 18,000 in the next few days, the Home Minister said. Most parties, cutting across party lines, had demanded more testing.
Delhi is the state with the third-highest COVID-19 count after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The capital’s tally of coronavirus infections has touched 41,182 as the number of deaths due to the disease climbed to 1,327.
Today’s meeting comes a day after he held a high-level meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, following which he laid out a number of measures to battle the capital’s COVID-19 crisis.
The parties that attended the meeting at the North Block included Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress, BJP, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.
At the meeting, the Congress demanded that COVID-19 testing to be provided to all and that Rs 10,000 be paid to every family in which a member is infected or in a containment zone. The party also demanded that medical students in their fourth year be used as non-permanent resident doctors. The party said there is a sense of fear among the residents of Delhi and that those wanting to take a COVID-19 test must be facilitated to do the required testing which has been approved.
Mr Shah briefed the representatives of the political parties on the measures announced yesterday and wanted all political parties and their workers and volunteers to help in ensuring effective testing of the residents of Delhi.
“Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that by June 20, the Delhi government will start conducting 18,000 COVID-19 tests per day,” Delhi BJP chief Adesh Kumar Gupta was quoted as saying by news agency ANI after the all-party meeting.
On Sunday, Amit Shah had met Mr Kejriwal and announced a series of measures for Delhi. Key decisions include tripling the number of tests within the next six days and the centre providing Delhi with 500 train coaches to boost the number of beds for coronavirus patients. A committee will submit its report today on reducing the cost of COVID-19 treatment and costs. Mr Shah also announced that COVID-19 tests would be started at every polling station in the containment zones in Delhi and a comprehensive house-to-house health survey would be conducted in the hotspots for contact tracing.
Amid harrowing accounts of people struggling to get a hospital bed in the capital, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia last week said that Delhi’s infections of coronavirus will climb to 5.5 lakh by the end of July and it does not have the hospital capacity to handle such an outbreak.
Neighbouring Uttar Pradesh has sealed border with Delhi, contending that the movement of people to and from the national capital was spreading the infection in the states.
Today’s meeting follows the strictures of the Supreme Court on Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu — states with the highest incidence of coronavirus.
Uttar Pradesh told the Supreme Court on Friday that it would continue the travel restrictions as there are 40 times more COVID-19 cases in the national capital compared to Noida and Ghaziabad. Haryana said it would allow travel for all to and from Delhi without restrictions.