All hospitals in the national capital, barring those run by the central government and private hospitals performing specialised surgeries, have been reserved for treating only Delhi residents to ensure that an influx of people from outside do not squeeze availability of COVID-19 beds with the easing of lockdown.
Delhi government expects a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the capital in the near future and a decision to restrict treatment for outsiders in the Delhi government-run hospitals and those in the private sector was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet based on an expert committee’s recommendations and suggestions from public.
The decision also comes against the backdrop of the Delhi government deciding to open the borders from Monday.
Delhi government has also decided not to open hotels and banquet halls from Monday, as they anticipate that these facilities may need to be converted into COVID-19 hospitals once the cases surge. However, restaurants, shopping malls and religious places will open from Monday as allowed in Central government’s Unlock 1.0 guidelines.
According to the government decisions, all the around 10,000 beds in Delhi government-run hospitals will be earmarked for residents of the capital. Beds in private hospitals are also earmarked for Delhiites only.
However, another 10,000 beds in hospitals run by the Central government remained untouched and people from other states can avail facilities there.
Exceptions have also been provided to certain private hospitals which conduct special surgeries like transplantation and oncology related procedures to allow admission of people from other states.
Announcing the decisions, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said there is a need to “balance” the situation and the decisions taken would help in that direction.
Kejriwal said he had last week sought suggestions from people regarding opening hospitals for outsiders when the borders are opened. He said a large number of people are going to come to Delhi and this could result in further rise in cases.
He said 7.5 lakh people send in their suggestions and 90% were of the view that it should be reserved for Delhiites. An expert panel appointed by the Delhi government also recommended the same saying if people from outside are allowed, Delhi beds will be filled in three days and the capital would need 15,000 beds by June-end and 42,000 by mid-July.