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Coronavirus: Delhi govt sets up 230 beds in isolation wards at 25 hospitals


New Delhi, Mar 03: A day after a Delhi man tested positive for the new coronavirus, the AAP government said Tuesday it is taking all steps to contain the spread of the virus and earmarked 230 beds in isolation wards being set up at 25 hospitals, as several city schools sent advisories to parents listing precautionary measures.

Coronavirus: Delhi govt sets up 230 beds in isolation wards at 25 hospitals

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held an emergency meeting with Health Minister Satyendar Jain and other top officials and took stock of government preparations to contain the virus. Kejriwal also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed the possible spread of the virus in the national capital.

"The rising problem of coronavirus was also discussed in the meeting with the prime minister... The central government and the Delhi government will work together to prevent the outbreak of this deadly disease (COVID-19). We have to work together so that it can be prevented," Kejriwal said.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the city government was trying to get in touch with people who could be infected or were in contact with the man infected with the virus. Before reporting himself to RML Hospital authorities and after returning to India from Italy, the man had dined at a restaurant at a five-star hotel on February 28.

The hotel said it has asked staff, who were present that day, to go on self-quarantine for 14 days, the disease's estimated incubation period. The hotel said it has enacted elevated precautionary operational protocols as advised by the government.

"Government authorities recently confirmed that an individual who dined at La Piazza restaurant at Hyatt Regency Delhi on February 28, 2020, has been diagnosed with COVID-19," Hyatt Regency Delhi Area VP and General Manager Julian Ayers said in a statement. "All colleagues who were present at the restaurant on February 28, 2020, have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Hyatt Regency Delhi has also started to conduct daily temperature checks for all colleagues and contractors when they enter and exit the building," Ayers said. The Delhi health minister said 3.5 lakh N95 masks were being arranged and the government has 8,000 separation kits for staff treating coronavirus patients.

"COVID-19 is a new infection, but there is no need to panic," Jain told reporters after the meeting, flanked by Sisodia. "We are taking all possible steps to keep Delhi safe. Isolation wards are being readied in 25 hospitals, including 19 government and six private hospitals. 230 beds have been earmarked for coronavirus patients," he said.

Alerted by coronavirus cases being reported in Delhi-NCR, schools in the region have sent out advisories to parents suggesting that they do not send their wards to classes even if they have mild cough or cold. The schools said they may declare holidays if the need arises. Two private schools in Noida cancelled classes on Tuesday for the next few days as a precautionary measure after a student's father (the man from Delhi) tested positive for the virus.

The virus has spread to over 60 countries and killed more than 3,100 people since its outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

Over 90,000 have been infected. The central government has stepped up its effort to screen people at airports for symptoms of coronavirus infection and suspended regular and e-visas to nationals of four affected countries — Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan.

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