As Delhi braced itself for another spike in Covid-19 cases and Tamil Nadu extended a strict lockdown in Chennai and adjoining cities including Mahabalipuram till 30 June, Home Minister Amit Shah undertook a survey of Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash (LNJP) Hospital for its preparedness in dealing with a new wave of cases. At an all-party meeting, the cost of testing and treatment especially by private hospitals was the primary concern of all political leaders.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, BJP leader Adesh Gupta said the government had agreed to subsidise 50 per cent of the cost of testing. A decision on capping hospitalisation charges by private hospitals will come after the NITI Aayog member VK Paul-headed committee gives its recommendations in the next two days.
However, while preparing for the worst, the Delhi government withdrew an order issued on Sunday, ordering all nursing homes in the Capital with capacities of 10-49 beds as Covid-only, after it was advised that mingling Covid-19 patients with existing non-Covid patients at nursing homes could lead to disastrous health consequences. Nursing homeowners told the Delhi government they did not have the equipment to handle the highly infectious disease.
But despite widespread fears that the national Capital had not seen the worst of the infection yet, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the government was not contemplating another lockdown spell. Delhi’s border with Uttar Pradesh remains closed and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future, though Haryana allowed travel without restrictions to and from Delhi.
Back on track: The Railways on Monday resumed suburban train services in Mumbai for essential staff. The Central Railway and Western Railway decided to run ‘selective suburban services’ over the main line. Photo: PTI
Meanwhile, the Telangana government has announced it will cap testing rates in private labs at Rs 2,200. The treatment charges in a private hospital have been capped at Rs 4,000 per day for isolation ward, Rs 7,500 per day for intensive care unit (ICU) without a ventilator, Rs 9,000/day for ICU with ventilator facility. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao directed officials to conduct tests to about 50,000 people in 30 Assembly constituencies in 10 days to build confidence among the public. Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar said the state has conducted 42,000 tests till date and ruled out any community transmission.
At the all-party meeting, Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh said that a new test that will cost only Rs 450 will soon be available in Delhi.
The Delhi government has already issued an order to private and government labs, asking them to work with their full capacity and increase their Covid-19 testing capacity. As per the order, private labs will have to give results within 48 hours. Quoting the home minister, Gupta said, by June 20, the Delhi government will start conducting 18,000 Covid-19 tests per day. The Congress said the chief minister had announced it would provide compensation of Rs 1 crore to those who had contracted Covid-19 while helping others overcome it and had lost their lives. The government must immediately pay this money to the next of kin so that morale in fighting the disease stays high.