As the two-month lockdown in Delhi was eased on Monday (June 8), Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal falling ill amid COVID-19 cases spiking in the national capital is bound to heighten worries among the people of Delhi and its suburbs.
Since June 7, Kejriwal had been suffering a mild fever and bad throat and all his engagements were cancelled immediately. But, strangely, he has not tested for COVID-19, so far, and his office has said he would undergo a test on Tuesday (June 9). However, the office has not given any reason for the unseemly delay in conducting the test.
Reacting to this, an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) functionary and Kejriwal’s close associate said, “I sent him a text message soon after I came to know about it (illness) to share my worries and wish him to get well. He (Kejriwal) replied saying, mild symptoms, hope for the best.”
The functionary, who preferred to be anonymous, said the Chief Minister had gone into quarantine at his residence after being examined by his doctor. When he was asked about the delay in conducting the tests, the AAP functionary said, “Maybe, because there is no medicine (for COVID-19).”
So, the nature of the fever and cough that Kejriwal had caught remains a closely-guarded secret. It is also not known whether doctors had advised only the Chief Minister to go into quarantine or also the people whom he had come in contact with.
The reason behind the secrecy is that both the Delhi government and the AAP do not want to create panic among the people by disclosing the exact details about the Chief Minister’s health condition. While nobody in the party or the provincial government is ready to tell about when Kejriwal will be back to work, all appointments for the next few days stand “deferred and will be given afresh”.
At the start of his first term in office in the spring of 2015, Kejriwal suffered from a chronic cough, asthma and diabetes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while meeting him, advised Kejriwal to go to the Bengaluru-based Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhan Samstha (S-VYASA) for treatment.
The southern city’s facility is headed by Dr HR Nagendra, a former NASA scientist, and a relative of former RSS leader HV Sheshadri. Kejriwal was in his mid-forties then and has never been heard of having any serious health problems after his visit to the Bengaluru sanatorium, where he spent quite a few days.
So far, 28,936 confirmed cases have been reported in Delhi, which has witnessed 812 deaths. The disease is feared to intensify and the Delhi government has been finding hard to come with a plan to alleviate the COVID-19 crisis in the national capital.
On June 7, the Chief Minister reserved government-run hospitals for Delhiites. He also kept Delhi’s borders with neighbouring states sealed with a hope that the surge in infections would be controlled. However, the news of his illness has served another blow to the hope of Delhi getting normal anytime soon.