All coronavirus patients in Delhi should not be asked to visit a quarantine centre for evaluation, the Delhi government said today, registering protest against centre's new order. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said he has written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, asking him to "intervene" and roll back the latest guidelines that will put a burden on already strained health infrastructure.
"Today Delhi has two coronavirus models - one is the Amit Shah model, which says that anyone testing positive has to go a quarantine centre. The other one is the Kejriwal model, which says that a team visits the patient's home to assess the severity of the case," Manish Sisodia said as he addressed reporters via video conference.
"I have told Amit Shah that this is not 'your model versus my model' fight. We have to minimise the inconvenience for people," Mr Sisodia said.
The Deputy Chief Minister's latest remarks come a day after he wrote to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who has often clashed with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, requesting a return to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's old system amid a spike in coronavirus cases.
Delhi has India's second highest number of coronavirus cases. On Tuesday, the national capital reported its biggest single-day jump of nearly 4,000 new infections, taking the tally to over 66,000 cases.
"I am thankful to you for your help in Delhi's fight against COVID-19. But I want to turn your attention to another matter that has triggered chaos among patients. Delhi is reporting around 3,000-4,000 new cases every day. In such a scenario, how will we arrange ambulances to take all the patients to isolation centres?" the 48-year-old Aam Aadmi Party leader wrote to Amit Shah today.
"Testing, tracking and containment have already increased the burden on the health infrastructure. Now, long queues will be seen outside quarantine centres," he said in the letter, adding that "the new system has created many challenges". "I wrote to the L-G but he did not reply," the letter further reads.
"I appeal to you that just the way your positive intervention helped in rolling back the five-day mandatory quarantine rule, the latest order should also be revoked," he said.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted this morning: "Delhi's home isolation plan has been working very well. I have personally spoken to many patients on phone who underwent home isolation. I wud urge Centre and LG not to tinker wid it and restore it back. (sic)"
Last week, the Lieutenant Governor, who represents centre, had revoked an order on mandatory five-day quarantine for all coronavirus patients after strong protests by the Delhi government. The AAP government had pointed out that it would mean arranging over 90,000 hospital beds, which was virtually impossible at the moment.
Later, a revised order said that all COVID-19 patients will be referred to COVID-19 care centres to decide if they can be isolated at their homes or not.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thrice last week to discuss the handling of the pandemic after the Supreme Court called the situation in the city "horrendous, horiffic and pathetic". Across India, the coronavirus tally has soared to 4.56 lakh cases.