Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Sunday (June 7) that Delhi’s borders with Uttar Pradesh and Haryana will be opened from Monday (June 8) but hospitals, except those run by the Centre, will only treat patients from the national capital.
While malls, restaurants, and religious places will open in the city in accordance with the Centre’s guidelines, hotels and banquets will remain closed as the Delhi government might need to convert them into hospitals in coming time, he said.
“The borders of Delhi with UP and Haryana will open from tomorrow. Malls, restaurants and religious places will open too following the central governments guidelines, hotels and banquets will remain closed as we might need them to convert them into hospitals in the coming time,” Kejriwal said during an online press briefing.
The central government has allowed the reopening of shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality services along with the places of religious worship to people from June 8. However, these facilities will not be able to resume operations inside containment zones marked by authorities in states.
“Over 90 per cent people want Delhi hospitals to treat patients from the national capital during the coronavirus pandemic. Hence, it has been decided that government and private hospitals in Delhi will only treat patients from the national capital,” Kejriwal said.
He added that if people from other cities come to Delhi for specific surgeries, they will be provided treatment at private hospitals. “Delhi’s health infrastructure is needed to tackle the coronavirus crisis at the moment,” the chief minister said.
He also advised people to follow social distancing norms, wear masks, and maintain hygiene. “You are not doing anyone a favour by wearing mask, it’s for your own safety. I am still getting reports that people are going out without masks,” Hindustan Times quoted him as saying. “Relaxations do not mean that coronavirus disease has ended,” he added.
He also urged senior citizens to observe extra caution, and reduce interact “even with family members” as much as possible.
Kejriwal had earlier warned hospitals in Delhi of strict action after reports of hospitals refusing to admit patients and charging excessively came up.
“False refusal cannot be tolerated and admitting coronavirus patients is non-negotiable… There are some private hospitals which are resorting to such means. First they say they don’t have beds and when patients insist, they demand a huge amount. Isn’t this black-marketing of beds?” NDTV quoted Kejriwal as saying.
He added, “We will take strong action against such hospitals and they cannot refuse patients. Some time will be needed to break the mafia who are indulging in it. These few hospitals have political connections but they should not be under illusion that their political masters can save them,” he had said during a virtual press briefing.
He also said his government was going to issue an order stating that hospitals cannot deny treatment to such people.
“The Delhi government will depute medical professionals at all hospitals who will update availability of beds for coronavirus patients at an official app and ensure admission of such patients,” he said.
The Delhi Medical Association condemned his warning and said in a statement, “Hospitals are the backbone of healthcare and are serving the patients COVID or non-COVID. They are being penalised and the government, instead of praising their efforts, is issuing new diktats daily.”
“Doctors of Delhi are already overworked and overstressed in this hour of pandemic crisis and the state government is unnecessarily putting pressure on healthcare systems,” the statement said, claiming the support of its 15,000 members.
(With inputs from agencies)