Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal during a visit to the newly constructed 500 ICU beds COVID Care Centre at Ramlila maidan opposite LNJP hospital in New Delhi.(PTI)
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal during a visit to the newly constructed 500 ICU beds COVID Care Centre at Ramlila maidan opposite LNJP hospital in New Delhi.(PTI)

Free education, financial aid for Covid orphans: Kejriwal

  • At its peak, Delhi recorded 28,395 cases on April 20. On April 22, the positivity rate touched 36%.
By Sweta Goswami, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 15, 2021 03:02 AM IST

The Delhi government will provide free education to children who have lost their parents to Covid-19 and financial assistance to all those, especially senior citizens, who have lost the only earning member of their family to the disease, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday.

Addressing a digital press conference, Kejriwal said that after some time, the Capital’s daily tally of Covid-19 cases has fallen below the 10,000 mark, with around 8,500 cases being recorded in the past 24 hours and the positivity rate further declining to 12%. At its peak, Delhi recorded 28,395 cases on April 20. On April 22, the positivity rate touched 36%.

The CM added that in the past 10 days, nearly 3,000 Covid-19 beds have become vacant, although he admitted that the occupancy of ICU beds remains almost 100%.To provide adequate beds and timely treatment to serious Covid-19 patients, he said, about 1,200 ICU beds are nearly ready -- 1,000 at the two Ramlila grounds and the rest at the Radha Saomi Satsang, Beas campus in Chattarpur.

“In the past few days, despite all our efforts, we could not save many Delhi people. In many families, there have been more than one death. I know several children who have lost both their parents... Delhi government will bear all the expenses of their education and living. There are also several senior citizens who have lost their children who used to earn. Do not worry, your son is still alive. Delhi government will provide financial assistance to all those families who have lost their sole earning member to Covid-19,” Kejriwal said.

Since April 14 (till May 14) Delhi has recorded 9,471 deaths on account of Covid-19, as the surging second wave of the pandemic overwhelmed the Union Territory’s health care system.

The Kejriwal government announced a week-end lockdown from April 17 and then extended it on April 19. Delhi remains under the lockdown currently.

On Friday, the Delhi cabinet approved the disbursal of financial assistance of 5,000 to all auto rickshaw and taxi drivers registered with the state transport department. On May 4, Kejriwal announced the revival of this scheme, which benefited 156,000 drivers having a public service badge or a permit for such vehicles during the lockdown last year. The amount will be directly disbursed to their Aadhaar-linked bank accounts.

While the lockdown is supposed to end at 5 am on Monday, the chief minister hinted at retaining the restrictions. “Even today, 8,500 fresh Covid cases have come. We have to bring this down to 0 and hence, we cannot lower our guard at this moment at any cost. If we become lax, then cases might spike again. So, we have to strictly follow the ongoing lockdown and adhere to all the Covid-19 protocols,” he said.

The Delhi government said it is ramping up the number of oxygen beds to prepare for any potential surge in cases.

A total of 8,506 new cases were reported on Friday, the lowest daily tally since April 10, according to the Delhi government’s health bulletin. The positivity rate – the proportion of samples tested that return positive for Covid-19 – continued its sharp decline and touched 12.4% on Friday, the lowest since April 12.

On Friday, Kejriwal also visited the makeshift Covid-19 treatment facility at Ramlila ground which is attached to the Lok Nayak hospital.

The 500 ICU-bed facility, which was readied in 15 days, will be operational from Saturday, he said.

“From tomorrow, 250 ICU beds, linked to Lok Nayak hospital, will start, and another 250 beds will be operational in 1-2 days. I also visited GTB hospital in east Delhi the day before yesterday (Wednesday), where another 500 ICU beds have been set up. This makes it a total of 1,000 ICU beds added to the bed count in Delhi. Another 200 ICU beds are being arranged at the Radha Soami Covid facility in Chhatarpur, which means that a total of 1,200 ICU beds will be added in Delhi in the next 1-2 days,” he said.

At the peak of the fourth wave, in late April, there were no beds to be had in Delhi, and hospitals were running short of oxygen. The situation with respect to both has improved significantly since.

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