Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain and AAP MLA Atishi have tested positive for coronavirus, officials said on Wednesday, while the Union Home Ministry capped the Covid-19 diagnosis in the national capital at Rs 2,400 to significantly bring down the cost of testing for the infection and provide relief to the common man.
Delhi recorded 2,414 fresh coronavirus cases, the highest single-day spike here, taking the tally in the city over the 47,000-mark, while the death toll from the disease climbed to 1,904, according to a health bulletin released on Wednesday night.
In another related development, the Supreme Court warned the Delhi government not to “shoot the messenger” as it took note of an FIR against a doctor for video-graphing and disclosing the situation prevailing in a government hospital here.
The Union Home Ministry said from Thursday Covid-19 tests will be done with the new Rapid Antigen method approved by the Indian Council for Medical Research and Delhi will be given priority for these test kits. It said 169 testing centres have also been set up across the national capital.
As per the directives of HM @AmitShah in providing relief to the common man. High level expert committee’s report on #Covid19 testing rates received by @MoHFW_INDIA has been further sent to Delhi Govt for necessary action. It has been decided to fix the test rate at Rs 2,400, a Home Ministry spokesperson tweeted.
The charge for a coronavirus test earlier was Rs 4,500.
Following Home Minister Amit Shah’s decision to double Covid-19 tests in Delhi, 16,618 samples have been collected on June 15 and 16, compared to 4,000 to 4,500 daily till June 14, the ministry said.
The spokesperson said to improve contact mapping in Delhi’s containment zones, health surveys have been started and out of a population of 2,30,466 people in 242 containment zones, survey of 1,77,692 people was conducted between June 15 and 16. The remaining will be covered by June 20.
Separately, of the 503 isolation coaches deployed in Delhi for Covid-19 patients, 317 will be ready by Wednesday night and the rest by Thursday, the Northern Railways said. This will add more beds for coronavirus patients.
Health Minister Jain and his party colleague Atishi have also tested positive for coronavirus.
The 55-year-old minister was brought to the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH) in the early hours of Tuesday and was administered a coronavirus test, for which he tested negative. He was again tested for coronavirus in the morning for which he tested positive. His condition is said to be stable.
Jain had on Sunday attended a crucial meeting on handling of coronavirus with Shah, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and other senior officials of the Delhi government and the Centre.
Earlier, AAP MLAs Vishesh Ravi (Karol Bagh) and Rajkumar Anand (Patel Nagar) had tested positive for coronavirus.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Atishi has played an important role in the fight against coronavirus and hoped that she gets well soon.
Thanks a lot for all the love and good wishes! Want to reassure everyone that I’m doing OK. Am in Home Isolation since I got my test results. Fully equipped with fruit, Vit C and an oxymeter to monitor oxygen levels, Atishi tweeted.
AAP’s Atishi Marlena
On Wednesday, Kejriwal also attended a high-level meeting of the Prime Minister with other chief ministers to discuss the strategy to deal with the pandemic. However, Delhi was among the states that were not scheduled to put forth their views in the meeting, an official said.
In a tweet, Kejriwal said Delhi may need more Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in the coming days.
“We may need more ICUs in the coming days. Discussed wid doctors of our Del govt hospitals on how to increase no of ICUs (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted.
On an FIR being registered against a doctor, the apex court questioned the Delhi government as to why such action was taken against the medic who was employed in LNJP hospital and suspended for sharing the video.
The authorities should “stop harassing him, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said, observing that doctors and nurses are corona warriors and need to be protected.
On ramping up the beds for coronavirus patients, the Northern Railway said out of the 503 isolation coaches deployed in Delhi for Covid-19 patients, 317 will be ready by Wednesday night and the rest by Thursday.
The coaches were deployed at nine stations in the national capital after Shah made the announcement as part of measures to contain the pandemic, officials said.
Northern and North Central Railway General Manager Rajiv Chaudhary said all coaches have been deployed and final touches like putting up mosquito nets and curtains, and installing dustbins, cleaning faucets and oxygen cylinders, are being completed.
Sisodia, who visited one of the facilities at Shakur Basti, said the soaring temperatures and the heat will make it difficult for the medical staff to operate while wearing heavy PPE.
We are trying our best to improve the infrastructure and to come up with a solution to this, so that we can begin deploying staff and admitting patients at these isolation centres, Sisodia said.