’Dire need of beds, oxygen’: India’s capital under siege from COVID-19
NEW DELHI: India’s capital New Delhi recorded 25,500 coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period, with about one in three people tested returning a positive result, its chief minister said, urging the federal government to provide more hospital beds to tackle the crisis.
Less than 100 critical care beds were available in the city of more than 20 million people, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday, as social media was flooded with people complaining about lack of beds, oxygen cylinders and drugs.
“The bigger worry is that in last 24 hours positivity rate has increased to around 30% from 24% … The cases are rising very rapidly. The beds are filling fast,” Kejriwal told a news briefing.
In a separate statement, the city government said it had informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal administration about “the dire need of beds and oxygen” and beds were now being set up in schools.
As cases rise across India, criticism is mounting over how Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has handled the health crisis, as religious festivals and election rallies attended by thousands continue.
India’s government relaxed almost all lockdown curbs of last year by the beginning of 2021, although some regions including New Delhi and the state of Maharashtra, home to financial hub Mumbai, have introduced localised restrictions.
“There is no option but to lockdown Delhi for 1-2 weeks,” said Dr. Ambrish Mithal, a top doctor of endocrinology and diabetes at hospital operator Max Healthcare, adding that weekend curfews “won’t do”.
“(The) situation is unmanageable at present,” he said on Twitter.