- The meetings follow top court's rebuke of Delhi over handling of pandemic
- Amit Shah has formulated a unified NCR plan to fight COVID-19
- Delhi's coronavirus cases might touch 1 lakh by the end of this month
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had a meeting on Sunday with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on the coronavirus situation, where it was decided to hold more "robust" contact tracing, revamp the entire containment zone strategy and strengthen medical services in areas most affected by the virus. Every death should be reported to the centre, the Delhi government was told.
A high-level committee set up by Amit Shah recommended isolation of contacts of all COVID-19 patients and re-mapping of all containment zones to check the rapid spread of the coronavirus. The Aarogya Setu and Itihaas apps should be used for contact tracing, the Union Home Ministry said.
On deaths linked to coronavirus, the government said: "A special focus has to be given about whether the person (who died) was in home isolation and whether the person was brought to hospital at the right time or not."
All coronavirus patients will have to go to COVID-19 care centres and those who have facilities at home and have no co-morbidity can avail home isolation in Delhi, the centre said, hours after the Delhi government issued a revised order on home quarantine.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was also present at the video conference, as were senior doctors from the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research, the government's nodal body in dealing with this crisis) and AIIMS (All India Institute for Medical Sciences).
The revised strategy to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak in Delhi, which on Sunday evening reported 3,000 new cases in the preceding 24-hour period, also includes "promotion of COVID-appropriate behaviour".
At the meeting it was pointed out that following "Unlock1" - the centre's phased re-start of economic and commercial activity in least-affected areas - people had failed to follow protocols. Punitive action was suggested against those disobeying the rules.
The meeting also called for a survey of 20,000 people by the NCDC (National Centre for Disexase Control) and DGHS (Directorate General of Health Services).
After Sunday's meeting, Mr Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party tweeted:
AAP Govt is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Delhi— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) June 21, 2020
Hon'ble CM @ArvindKejriwal and Hon'ble Dy CM @msisodia discussed key strategies with Hon'ble HM @AmitShah on making contact tracing more robust and further strengthening of medical services in severely impacted areas pic.twitter.com/omyAQxMlsg
Mr Shah met the Chief Minister last Thursday as well, when he held a review of the situation in the National Capital Territory, which, besides Delhi, includes parts of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Delhi is expecting a surge in coronavirus cases; the caseload might touch the one lakh-mark by the end of this month and 5.5 lakh by the end of the next. Currently the city has nearly 60,000 cases.
Mr Shah has formulated an unified action plan for the whole of the National Capital Region and has said that Delhi and its neighbouring regions should come together in the fight against the virus in view of its close-knit urban structure.
Last Sunday Mr Shah held a meeting with the Delhi Chief Minister and Health Minister Satyendar Jain and issued a number of directions to contain and manage the spiraling cases of coronavirus in the national capital. Mr Jain has since contracted the virus and is currently in hospital. His situation has improved after plasma treatment, doctors said.
The flurry of meetings started after the Supreme Court sharply rebuked Delhi and several other states earlier this month over their handling of the pandemic.
"COVID-19 patients are treated worse than animals. In one case, a body was found in the garbage. Patients are dying and nobody is there to even attend to them," the Supreme Court had said after media reports regarding Delhi's Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital.
The situation in Delhi was "horrendous, horrific and pathetic", the court had added, seeking response from the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital, which made headlines earlier this month over media reports about the conditions inside.
On Monday, Mr Shah held a meeting with political parties in the National Capital Region. He also visited the LNJP hospital, where among other things, he ordered the installation of CCTV cameras in the wards.