The Delhi government has cancelled the leaves of all employees including doctors and support staff of hospitals under its health department due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the national capital.
“All MDs, dean and directors of hospitals and medical institutions under the Health and Family Welfare Department are advised to issue directions to all the staff under their control who are on leave of any kind to immediately report for their duties…” NDTV quoted the Delhi government as saying in an order.
It also said government hospital employees could take leave only under the “most compelling circumstances”.
Delhi currently has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Earlier, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had said all COVID-19 patients in the national capital must be quarantined for at least five days at government-run facilities before being allowed to self-isolate at home.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday (June 20) opposed the order of Baijal, who is the chairman of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, for the five-day mandatory institutional quarantine.
The AAP-led government asked why a separate rule was being applied for the city, sources said, as his deputy Manish Sisodia said they could not reach a consensus on the decision at a DDMA meet.
The Arvind Kejriwal government pointed to a shortage of doctors, nurses and space to set up huge quarantine facilities, since the latest move is likely to put further stress on the city’s health infrastructure.
In a series of tweets, Sisodia said no consensus could be reached in the meeting on the LG order and the rate of private hospital beds and another meeting will take place at 5 pm.
“The Delhi government opposed LG’s order on scrapping home isolation and no decision was taken on it. The matter will be discussed again in the evening,” he tweeted in Hindi.
He also said the Centre has recommended for reducing the rate of 25 per cent private hospital beds while the Delhi government is adamant on reducing rates of 60 per cent beds.
Sisodia said the order is against the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and will create “chaos” in Delhi.
At the meeting, Kejriwal said the ICMR has permitted home isolation for asymptomatic and mild symptom COVID-19 patients in the whole country, then why a separate rule was employed in case of Delhi, according to sources.
“Most corona patients are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms, how will arrangements be made for them. The coaches provided by the Railways for isolation are hot inside where patients cannot stay,” Kejriwal was quoted as saying at the meeting.
Opposing the LG’s decision, senior AAP leader and party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said the Centre is resorting to dictatorship.
“It wants to send those who can recover within the confines of their home to rail coaches where the temperature is 47 degrees Celsius,” Singh tweeted in Hindi.
As on Friday, Delhi had 53,116 coronavirus cases of which 27,512 were active. The number of those under home isolation stood at 10,490. Of the 10,961 beds, 5,078 were vacant.
(With inputs from agencies)