“I am not in favour of lockdown. I feel that lockdown is not the solution to Corona. [But] It should be imposed by any government when its hospital structure collapses," the Chief Minister said.
As more than 10,000 new infections were detected in Delhi for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned on Sunday that the capital may have to be put under lockdown if hospitals start running out of Covid beds.
“I am not in favour of lockdown. I feel that lockdown is not the solution to Corona. [But] It should be imposed by any government when its hospital structure collapses. Through lockdown, the pace of the spread of disease reduces… If you (citizens) cooperate and the hospital facilities stay under control, we won’t have to impose a lockdown in Delhi,” the Chief Minister said.
“However”, he added, “in case the number of beds in hospitals starts falling short, we might have to impose a lockdown. I am not in favour of lockdown. I just need your cooperation”.
Kejriwal appealed to people to stay at home as much as possible.
Delhi reported 10,774 new cases – and 48 deaths – on Sunday, sweeping aside the previous daily record of 8,500-odd cases reached in November. Delhi has seen nearly 60,000 new cases in April so far.
Of the 11,728 hospital beds reserved for Covid patients in Delhi, 5,363 are vacant at present. Of the 1,153 ventilator beds, only 307 are available. Government hospitals such as Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, AIIMS Trauma Centre, Delhi Government Burari Hospital, Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital, and Northern Railway Hospital have run out of ventilator beds. Seventy-eight private hospitals have ventilator beds for Covid patients; there is no vacancy in 45 of these hospitals.
Kejriwal urged people with mild or no symptoms to avoid getting admitted to hospitals, so that those who are seriously ill can get access.
“Avail hospital facility only if you really need it. If everyone starts to run towards the hospitals, we will fall short of beds, ventilators, and ICU. Let the hospital beds be available only for serious patients. If you are asymptomatic or have simple symptoms and you go to the hospital and occupy one bed, even when you could be treated at home itself, a serious patient will not be able to get access. He could also lose his life,” the Chief Minister said.
The ongoing fourth wave in Delhi has seen the infection spread much faster than in earlier waves. Sixty-five per cent of those falling ill were under the age of 45, Kejriwal said.
The Chief Minister, who had earlier written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to remove age restrictions for a shot, stressed on the need for quickly vaccinating all adults, saying that if vaccination was opened to all, a door-to-door campaign could ensure universal inoculation within 2-3 months. On Sunday, the first day of the “teeka utsav” mass vaccination drive, over 1 lakh people got their first shots in the city. Special camps were held at places like NCERT and Le Meridian hotel, and even at some bus stops.
“We now have a vaccine for Corona. Despite this, it is spreading so rapidly. In order to prevent this, we should have vaccinated the citizens at a much faster pace. We would have been able to control it. The speed of vaccination at present is very low. I requested the central government multiple times, wrote them a letter, wrote another letter to the PM too, stating that all restrictions on the vaccination process must be removed. The Delhi government is ready to go to each and every house and vaccinate the people,” Kejriwal said.
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