Doctors and paramedics from CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) will be flown in to Delhi to help contain yet another surge of coronavirus cases in the national capital, Home Ministry officials said Monday evening, after numerous meetings with various wings of the armed forces. A senior ministry official said 75 doctors and 250 paramedical personnel will be deployed "as early as possible" to help medical staff in Delhi combat the increase in Covid cases.
The personnel are being sent from CAPF units across the country, including as far away as Assam and Tamil Nadu. Other states being tapped include Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.
"They would arriving by commercial flights and that's why some time is needed to make arrangements," the official added.
Additional personnel have also been sent from paramilitary forces and these will be arriving in the next few days, the official said, adding that living arrangements were being organised.
This comes a day after Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met to chalk out a strategy to suppress Covid wave and tighten protocols to guard against future spikes.
Earlier today Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, officials from the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research, the government's nodal body in this crisis), the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and the Delhi government met to ensure smooth implementation of that strategy.
Amit Shah, after the meeting, tweeted a list of 12 points that had been discussed then.
The list included increasing the number of oxygen beds in Delhi by adding to a 10,000-bed facility in the Chattarpur area. At present it - the Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre and Hospital - only 10 per cent of these beds are oxygen-supported.
Other steps announced after the Amit Shah-Arvind Kejriwal meeting include making 300 more ICU beds available at the DRDO hospital in Delhi's Dhaula Kuan, doubling the number of RT-PCR tests conducted daily (at present this is between 18,000 and 19,000) and a house-to-house survey.
Further, some hospitals under the Delhi municipal corporation will be converted into dedicated COVID centres. Teams will visit all hospitals to ensure the availability of Covid infrastructure.
This is the second major intervention - after June - by Amit Shah to handle the Covid crisis in Delhi.
On Wednesday, on the back of a steadily increasing daily count, Delhi recorded its biggest single-day spike - 8,593 cases were logged. A day later, the most Covid-linked deaths in a day in more than five months, were logged.
Last month the National Centre for Disease Control warned the Delhi government of around 15,000 new cases per day; this is taking into account worries about lack of social distancing during the festive season and winter-related respiratory problems.
Delhi has reported over 4.85 lakh Covid cases so far, of which more than 7,600 are deaths linked to the virus. The active caseload, which was once below 11,000, has now soared to nearly 40,000.