No community spread of Covid-19 in Delhi: Amit Shah
The Union home minister, who has been monitoring the Covid-19 situation in the national capital, said Sisodia’s comments created “fear” among people.Updated: Jun 29, 2020, 02:48 IST
Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday said there is no community transmission of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Delhi, and added that he was confident the Capital would not see 550,000 cases of the disease by July 31, as predicted by the state’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia earlier this month.
In an interview to ANI, the Union home minister, who has been monitoring the Covid-19 situation in the national capital, said Sisodia’s comments created “fear” among people, and gave the Centre the cue to step in and coordinate the city’s response to the virus which has infected 83,077 people and killed 2,623 here till Sunday.
“Around the second week of June, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said that by July 31, there will be 5.50 lakh persons infected with the virus. He that there will be no place left, no beds left and the situation will be difficult. This created a lot of fear in the minds of people in Delhi. His estimate was based on figures. I do not want to go into whether estimate was right or wrong. But a situation of fear arose and some people started mulling an exodus (out of Delhi),” Shah said.
“The situation regarding bodies (of Covid-19 victims) in Delhi was grim. Over 350 bodies were pending for last rites. We decided that within two days last rites of bodies will be done as per religion. Today, no body is left for last rites. Now last rituals are conducted same day,” Shah said.
The Centre stepped in to manage the virus situation in Delhi on June 14, with Shah holding at least four meetings with central and state agencies so far, and visiting hospitals to assess their preparedness.
“…After Manish ji’s remarks, I felt that the central government should not stay idle. Modi ji has accountability towards the country. The PM also told me that the home ministry should take initiative to move forward and help the Delhi government,” he said.
The home minister stressed that there is coordination between the Centre and state in tackling Covid-19 in Delhi. “There is coordination...(Delhi CM) Arvind Kejriwal is always kept in the loop. Decisions are taken by involving him also,” he said.
Reacting to the home minister’s interview, Sisodia in a statement on Sunday said, “Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal sought help and support of every agency to battle (the) corona (virus disease) in Delhi. We got tremendous support from the central government, religious organisations like Radha Soami Satsang, Akshardham Temple Trust, Terapanthi, various hotels, banquets halls, private hospitals and NGOs like Doctors for U, and others.”
He added: “ For increasing testing, we sought central government’s assistance, and they helped us with procuring rapid testing kits. Since then, testing has been increased by four times. The Centre also provided us with oxygen cylinders, ITBP [Indo-Tibetan Border Police] doctors and nurses for Radha Soami Covid centre and guidance from domain experts. “
The deputy CM himself hoped that the estimate of 5.5 lakh cases by the end of July would prove wrong and pointed out that the recovery rate in Delhi is now 62%.
“We are hopeful that situation will improve in the coming weeks and will certainly not be as bleak as it looked in first week of June when domain experts predicted 5.5 lakh cases in Delhi by July 31.”
Shah said a series of steps have been taken to stem the spread of the virus and ramp up medical facilities.
“…I can say now with confidence that situation of 5.5 lakh cases will not come on July 31,” Shah said. He added that the situation would be in control by July 31 because the government has focussed on taking preventive steps, including more tests and contact tracing.
“The evidence for or against community transmission in Delhi will come from the sero survey that has started in the city, and will be completed in next two weeks or so. It will be too premature to say anything before the results of the survey are out,” says Dr Sanjay K Rai, professor, centre for community medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi.
Shah also referred to the Delhi government’s decision to reserve hospitals, except those run by the Centre, for residents of Delhi — which was overturned by Lieutenant Governor Baijal — and said it was untenable.
“I am also from outside Delhi. Where will I go, if something happens to me? Delhi is the capital of the country. And people from different states stay here, come and go,” he said.