Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has requested the centre to withdraw an order directing all COVID-19 patients in the national capital to visit a government-run quarantine centre for evaluation. Mr Kejriwal, whose AAP government is scrambling to contain the virus, said the order was "not correct" and likened it to "15-day detention".
The Chief Minister also said that his administration was working with the centre and other organisations to scale up medical infrastructure in the city, including finding hospital beds and ventilators, to respond to the growing health crisis.
"If the administration forcibly takes COVID patients for clinical assessment it will be like 15-day detention. I request the centre to withdraw the new system that requires assessment of every COVID-19 patient at government-run facilities," Mr Kejriwal said.
He also questioned asking patients with high fever to wait in long queues, particularly at a time when day-time temperatures in the city are nearly 40 degrees Celsius.
The Chief Minister made these remarks during a visit to a banquet hall-turned-COVID care facility, as the Delhi government races to increase the number of available beds. It has also begun converting a spiritual facility in south Delhi that will hold 10,000 beds.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia made a similar appeal earlier today, reaching out to Union Home Minister Amit Shah for help. Mr Sisodia said the latest guidelines would place additional burden on an already strained health infrastructure.
Mr Sisodia's remarks came a day after he wrote to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who has often clashed with Arvind Kejriwal, requesting a return to the Delhi government's old system, amid a worrying spike in coronavirus cases.
The quarantine system in Delhi has seen several changes in recent weeks
Last week Mr Baijal ordered mandatory five-day institutional quarantine for all patients. The Delhi government pointed out this would need over 90,000 beds, which was virtually impossible at this time.
The order was later modified to say that those COVID-19 patients with acceptable home quarantine facilities could stay at their residences. However, the centre still required those testing positive to first be taken to state-run facilities for further assessment.
Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia has said the frequent rules changes are confusing.
The AAP government in Delhi has defended its home isolation approach to the coronavirus outbreak.
On Wednesday morning Mr Kejriwal tweeted: "Delhi's home isolation plan has been working very well. I have personally spoken to many patients on phone who underwent home isolation. I would urge the centre and LG not to tinker with it and restore it back. (sic)"
Last week AAP leaders Raghav Chadha and Atishi, who is one of three party MLAs to have tested positive, also backed calls to allow home isolation.
This evening data showed Delhi detected 3,788 new cases in the preceding 24 hours, taking the total number of cases past the 70,000-mark.
Across India the number of COVID-19 cases has crossed 4.5 lakh, with 14,476 deaths linked to the virus. The country reported 15,968 cases in 24 hours, data showed Wednesday morning.
With input from PTI