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Delhi health infra should be used for its residents only: Panel formed by AAP govt


New Delhi, June 06: A five-member panel constituted by the Delhi government has suggested that the health infrastructure of the city should be used only for treating residents of the national capital, in view of the raging COVID-19 crisis, sources said on Saturday.

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The suggestion comes in the backdrop of Delhi recording over 1,000 coronavirus cases daily for the past few days and the AAP government fending itself against allegations of lack of hospital beds and other facilities.

The panel, headed by Indraprastha University vice-chancellor Dr Mahesh Verma, has submitted its report to the government in which it has said that if Delhi health infrastructure is open for non-residents, all beds will be occupied within just three days, according to the sources.

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A Delhi government official said that a Cabinet meeting will be held on Sunday when a final decision on the report is expected to be taken. Sources also said the government may accept the suggestion of the panel, which was constituted last week.

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    The other members of panel are: Dr Sunil Kumar, the medical director of GTB Hospital; Dr Arun Gupta, president of Delhi Medical Council; Dr R K Gupta, former president of Delhi Medical Association; and Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, the group medical director of Max Hospital.

    The Delhi government had asked the panel to guide it on healthcare infrastructure augmentation and overall preparedness of hospitals to battle COVID-19 in the national capital.

    The panel was also asked to guide the government on any other area where strengthening of infrastructure is required to better manage the pandemic in Delhi.

    On Friday, Delhi recorded 1,330 fresh coronavirus cases taking the COVID-19 tally in the city beyond the 26,000-mark, as the death toll due to the disease jumped to 708. The highest spike in fresh cases -- 1513 -- was recorded on June 3.

    Earlier this week, the government had directed that asymptomatic COVID-19 patients and those having mild symptoms be discharged from hospitals within 24 hours of admission, and district surveillance officers be reported.

    The government had warned hospitals that non-compliance will be viewed seriously and may invite legal action "without further notice". On June 1, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced sealing of Delhi's borders for a week in the wake of rising number of coronavirus cases in the national capital.

    The Delhi government had received over 7.5 lakh suggestions from people on whether the borders should be reopened and health services of hospitals be restricted to the treatment of only Delhiites, according to an official statement Friday evening.

    Sources in the government had said on Friday that the borders can be reopened, but services of the Delhi government-run health facilities may be reserved only for the people of the national capital.

    However, health services in the Centre-run hospitals may be available for people belonging to other states.

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