Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Sunday the city government has instructed 33 big private hospitals in the national capital to reserve 80 per cent of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients, amid a shortage of such beds at some facilities.
Delhi has been witnessing a surge in novel coronavirus cases from the last week of August. Delhi recorded its biggest single-day jump of 4,321 fresh COVID-19 cases on Saturday, taking the city's tally to over 2.14 lakh, authorities said. It was for the fourth day in a row that over 4,000 fresh cases were recorded in Delhi.
"Yesterday, we instructed 33 private hospitals to reserve 80 per cent of their ICU beds for coronavirus patients. This has been done since issues were being faced with regards to ICU beds in some private hospitals. I also held a video conference over this and an order has been issued in this regard," he told reporters here.
Jain said there are sufficient number of ICU beds in state-run and Centre-run hospitals, and also said there are sufficient number of other beds in hospitals.
"We have also instructed hospitals to increase bed strength by 30 per cent for coronavirus patients, in case they want to. More than 50 per cent beds are available in hospitals. Out of the total 14,372 beds available for COVID-19 patients, 7,938 are vacant, according to live status on Delhi Corona app," he added.
Asked if there can be another lockdown amid a spurt in coronavirus cases, the Health Minister ruled out the possibility.
"The time for enforcing a lockdown has ended. We have gained enough experience through the lockdown and know that wearing masks is an effective way to fight the infection. We are creating awareness to wear masks," he said.
Jain said the national capital has ramped up testing, which is why an increase in cases is being observed and stressed that it will help in containing and isolating cases of the infection. On Saturday, over 60,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted.
"If you test positive without symptoms, we will be able to isolate you in time and prevent the infection from spreading. The number might be increasing at this point but this will help in containing the virus," he added.
Sharing numbers, he said the positivity rate in the national capital is 7.19 per cent while the death rate in the last 10 days has been 0.68 per cent, "which is a good sign". The overall death rate is 2.23 per cent, he said.