Union home minister Amit Shah held a meet on Thursday to review the coronavirus situation in the National Capital Region -- comprising Delhi and parts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh -- where he stressed on more testing and early hospitalization to reduce mortality rates. His comments were directed especially at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minster Yogi Adityanath, who faced questions about the low rate of testing in his state.
Among the three states, the testing rate was lowest in Uttar Pradesh and at the meeting, there were questions on why Gautam Budh Nagar was only conducting 72 and Ghaziabad 78 tests per million.
In comparison, Delhi is conducting testing 679 per million and Gurgaon 482.
Yogi Adityanath assured the Home Minister that he has already given instructions to ramp up testing among high-risk workers, who include rickshaw drivers and vegetable vendors.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was present at the meeting along with Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Haryana's ML Khattar joined in through video-conference.
Mr Shah said ramping up tests with the Rapid Antigen Test Kits will help in reduce infection transmission rate below 10 per cent as suggested by World Health Organization.
The officials were also asked to bring down the mortality rate in the NCR region which, besides Delhi, includes eight districts in two states. The districts in Haryana are Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonipat,Gurgaon and Faridabad. The ones in Uttar Pradesh include Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad and Baghpat.
"When history is written, people will not remember how many recovered. They will remember how many people died during this pandemic," Mr Shah told officials.
Officials said 3,020 people have died in the NCR region. Of this, 91 per cent are from Delhi, 4.5 per cent from Gurgaon and Faridabad and 4.5 in the remaining areas. Mr Shah asked the officials to reduce the death rate below 1 per cent.
The NCR, which has a population of around 4 crore, contributes to a chunk of the country's 6 lakh-plus coronavirus figures. As many as 1.02 lakh people have tested positive in this area of whom, 71,000 patients have recovered and 31,000 are still under treatment, officials said. Delhi, officials said, contribute 85 per cent of the cases in the area.
Mr Shah spoke of the need to map the prevalence of coronavirus in the NCR through extensive use of Aarogya Setu and the Itihaas app, the government said after the meeting.
In terms of treatment of coronavirus, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana can conduct telemedicine consultation with Delhi's premier All-India institute of Medical Sciences, through which patients can get advice from experts, the government said.
"The Home Minister also asked officials to share information so the best practices can be adopted by everyone over to overcome this deadly virus," said a senior officer who attended the meeting. Mr Shah, he said, has asked officials to work around so that positivity rate in core NCR region can be brought down to 10.