Covid-19: Delhi govt to make 7 makeshift hospitals in next 6 months
The Delhi government will build seven makeshift hospitals with 7,000 ICU beds in the next six months to prepare for a potential third wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), state health minister Satyendar Jain said on Tuesday.
Jain said he spoke to deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s finance minister, to seek approval for the projects on Tuesday. These seven makeshift hospitals will be constructed by the public works department (PWD) in Sarita Vihar, Shalimar Bagh, Sultanpuri, Kirari, Raghubir Nagar, GTB hospital, and Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, he added. “The hospitals will be completed within the next six months positively and all the concerned departments will be working on a war footing. Though these hospitals will be temporary, they are being constructed from a long-term perspective as Covid-19 is here to stay at least in the near future,” Jain added.
The Delhi government has put in place a graded response action plan for the steps that are to be taken at various stages of the third wave, in case Covid-19 cases begin to spike again. The administration is planning to set up nearly 37,000 Covid beds, excluding those in Covid care centres. Of the 37,000 beds, 12,000 will be ICU beds.
Jain said he believes the third wave, if it comes, will be milder than the second wave in Delhi at least because majority of the cases that emerged during April-May this year were caused by the Delta variant, implying majority of the population may already have antibodies.
80% samples tested showed Delta variant
“In the tests done during the second wave in Delhi, we could see that more than 80% of the samples showed the presence of the Delta variant. The genome sequencing of the samples during the second wave and after have been done; the results of both show that about 80% of the sample population was infected by the Delta variant of the virus,” said Jain.
“Since the Delta variant originated in India, we have already faced the wrath of this variant during the second wave. The other countries need to prepare themselves now as the variant is spreading there. Delhi has already battled and overcome the Delta variant wave. Analysis of the reports from Delhi that were sent to ICMR also pointed out that Delhi was battling the Delta variant during the second wave. Therefore, I don’t think that the Delta variant should be a cause of concern for us anymore as the entire second wave was because of the Delta variant,” the minister said.
In the last wave, the Delhi government prepared 22,000-23,000 beds of which 6,000 were ICU beds. “This time we have doubled the number of the ICU beds and have added more beds overall as well. Along with this, the Delhi government has also started a graded response system,” he said.
The graded response action plan, which harks back to a similar mechanism to fight air pollution during pre-winter months, was drafted by an expert committee formed by the Delhi government and approved by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on July 8. It classifies outbreak severity into four bands – yellow, amber, orange and red – with each representing a more severe outbreak and, thus, stricter curbs than the one preceding it.
According to the plan, private offices, malls, weekly markets and the Metro will be shut down in Delhi if the test positivity rate (TPR) rises above 2%, and the city will be put under a curfew if the number breaches 5%, according to a new Covid-19 action plan approved by authorities that sets clear thresholds for curbs that kick in from as low as 0.5% TPR in order to scuttle an outbreak.
The colour-coded classifications take into account three factors: the test positivity rate over two consecutive days, new cases over a seven-day period, and the average weekly hospital occupancy rate.