Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi today assured that there will be coronavirus testing for all in Delhi during an all-party meeting to discuss the management of the coronavirus situation in the National Capital Region, which includes Delhi and parts of Uttar Pradesh and parts of Haryana. Mr Shah said political parties should forget their differences and join hands in the COVID-19 battle of the national capital.
The coronavirus tests per day in Delhi will reach 18,000 in the next few days, the Home Minister said. Most parties, cutting across party lines, had demanded more testing.
"Political differences must be forgotten and all parties must work together for the people of Delhi. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-ji, we should all work together to fight this pandemic," Amit Shah said.
Delhi is the state with the third-highest COVID-19 count after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The capital's tally of coronavirus infections has touched 41,182 as the number of deaths due to the disease climbed to 1,327.
Today's meeting comes a day after he held a high-level meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, following which he laid out a number of measures to battle the capital's COVID-19 crisis.
"A united face of all political parties will enhance people's trust and the situation in Delhi will be soon normal. I appeal to all political parties to urge their workers to ensure that the decisions taken by the centre for the people of Delhi are implemented on ground," the Home Minister said. "We will have to increase COVID-19 testing in Delhi by adopting new solutions," he added.
The parties that attended the meeting at the North Block included Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress, BJP, Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party.
At the meeting, the Congress demanded that COVID-19 testing to be provided to all and that Rs 10,000 be paid to every family in which a member is infected or in a containment zone. The party also demanded that medical students in their fourth year be used as non-permanent resident doctors. The party said there is a sense of fear among the residents of Delhi and that those wanting to take a COVID-19 test must be facilitated to do the required testing which has been approved.
Mr Shah briefed the representatives of the political parties on the measures announced yesterday and wanted all political parties and their workers and volunteers to help in ensuring effective testing of the residents of Delhi.
Amit Shah later made a surprise visit to Delhi's Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital to review COVID-19 preparedness. The Home Minister directed the Delhi Chief Secretary to install CCTV cameras in coronavirus wards of all hospitals, to ensure proper monitoring of patients.
Mr Shah also asked authorities to set up back-up canteens to maintain food supply in case infections shut down any one kitchen.
Visited LNJP Hospital in Delhi and held comprehensive discussion with the doctors and officials on the COVID-19 situation. Also reviewed hospital's preparedness.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) June 15, 2020
I thank and salute all Corona warriors who are serving the country round the clock in these difficult times. pic.twitter.com/oMkqNSHwNZ
According to a statement released by the Home Ministry, Mr Shah also asked that doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients be offered counselling to help them deal with the mental and emotional strain of their jobs.
On Sunday, Amit Shah had met Mr Kejriwal and announced a series of measures for Delhi.
Key decisions include tripling the number of tests within the next six days and the centre providing Delhi with 500 train coaches to boost the number of beds for coronavirus patients.
A committee will submit its report today on reducing the cost of COVID-19 treatment and costs.
Mr Shah also announced that COVID-19 tests would be started at every polling station in the containment zones in Delhi and a comprehensive house-to-house health survey would be conducted in the hotspots for contact tracing.
Amid harrowing accounts of people struggling to get a hospital bed in the capital, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia last week said that Delhi's infections of coronavirus will climb to 5.5 lakh by the end of July and it does not have the hospital capacity to handle such an outbreak.
Neighbouring Uttar Pradesh has sealed border with Delhi, contending that the movement of people to and from the national capital was spreading the infection in the states.
Today's meeting follows the strictures of the Supreme Court on Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu -- states with the highest incidence of coronavirus.
Uttar Pradesh told the Supreme Court on Friday that it would continue the travel restrictions as there are 40 times more COVID-19 cases in the national capital compared to Noida and Ghaziabad. Haryana said it would allow travel for all to and from Delhi without restrictions.