LG overrules AAP’s two debatable COVID-related orders; Kejriwal fumes

Lt Governor Anil Baijal dismissed Delhi government's orders to block hospitals in Delhi for the residents of the capital city and test only those who show strong coronavirus-linked symptoms

Delhi, Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, COVID-19, coronavirus, Delhiites
Lt. Governor Anil Baijal with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Monday (June 8) overruled two controversial decisions taken by the AAP government related to the coronavirus situation in the national capital.

Baijal dismissed Delhi government’s orders to block hospitals in Delhi for the residents of the capital city and test only those patients who show strong coronavirus-linked symptoms.

Taking to Twitter, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Lt Governor’s order overruling AAP government’s decision has created a major problem and challenge for the residents of the city.

He said that providing treatment to people coming from all over the country is a big challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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He also said that the Delhi government will try to make arrangements to provide treatment to all those coming from outside the national capital.

“May be God wants us to serve the people of the whole country. We will try to provide treatment to all,” he said.

Related news: Delhi govt-run and pvt hospitals to treat Delhiites only: Kejriwal

The Lt Governor overturned the Delhi government’s order and said asymptomatic cases and high-risk contacts of a coronavirus patient will also be tested.

However, the Aam Aadmi Party reacted sharply to the LG’s move, alleging that he had been pressured by the BJP which is doing “dirty politics” on the issue.

“Any deviation from the testing rules of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) “can result in further spread of COVID-19 in the capital,” Baijal said in his order.

Referring to several Supreme Court judgments saying “Right to Health” is a crucial part of “Right to Life” in the Constitution, the LG said in his order, “All government, private hospitals and nursing homes and clinics situated in the national capital of Delhi have to extend medical facilities to all COVID-19 patients coming for monitoring and treatment without any discrimination of being resident or non-resident of Delhi.”

The lieutenant governor is also the Chairman of Delhi Disaster Management Authority.

The move may trigger a confrontation between the AAP dispensation and the LG office.

On Sunday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that the hospitals run by the Delhi government and private entities will only treat Delhiites during the coronavirus crisis.

He had cited the report of a panel which stated that Delhi will need 15,000 beds by the end of June and if people of other states are allowed to get treatment, all beds here will be occupied within just three days.

Related news: Who’s a Delhiite, Chidambaram asks CM after hospitals reserved for residents

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.

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

However, the Delhi Medical Association had 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)

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