Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Sunday expressed anguish over issues related to availability of oxygen in the national capital and emphasised the need to ramp up the city’s medical infrastructure.
At a high-level review meeting on the COVID-19 situation here, Mr Gauba also asked the Delhi government to make every effort to lift their allocated oxygen by using all means.
On issues related to availability of oxygen, the cabinet secretary expressed his anguish at recent instances where people had suffered due to lack of adequate and timely availability of oxygen, an official statement said.
He has asked the Delhi government to make all out efforts to lift their allocated oxygen, using all the means at their disposal, and also to ensure that the oxygen available to them is distributed rationally and in a transparent manner, so that there is no diversion or leakage, it said.
The cabinet secretary emphasised the need to ramp up medical infrastructure in Delhi, at the earliest, to cater to the increasing demand for COVID beds, ICUs and ventilators.
He stressed the need to make available to the public all relevant information on COVID beds and other facilities, and availability of medicines, according to the statement.
Mr Gauba said the information should be uploaded on websites and apps so that people in need of such facilities and medicines can approach the right place.
A single helpline should be created to provide relevant clinical information to people, and should be popularised. The helpline can be serviced through a dedicated and well-staffed call centre, he said.
On the issue of adequate medical and healthcare human resources, the cabinet secretary asked the Delhi government to create flexible procedures to engage the services of retired medical professionals.
He asked for further augmentation of testing facilities and timely availability of test results.
Officials of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) made a presentation in the meeting, covering issues of recent trends in active cases, deaths and positivity rate.
The availability and expansion plans of medical infrastructure, status of oxygen availability, home isolation procedures and helpline and ambulance services, and testing were also part of the presentation.
The meeting was attended by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, NITI Aayog member VK Paul, the chief secretary of Delhi and other senior officials of the GNCTD, among others.
Senior officials of the Union health ministry, and commissioners of municipal corporations of Delhi and the chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council were also present.
Union health ministry officials stressed the need to restart the earlier practice of displaying the number of beds available for COVID-19 patients at each hospital site. The additional secretary for health said there is a need to set up oxygen audit committees in various hospitals and medical facilities.
Niti Aayog member VK Paul emphasised the seriousness of the present situation and recommended that small nursing homes and hospitals be roped in for augmenting the medical infrastructure of the capital.
He asked for Covid Care Centres to be opened in hotels and similar places, as per protocol.
In order to supplement the 24×7 helpline of the Delhi government, Mr Paul recommended that the Delhi Medical Association be requested to offer around 50 doctors, who can voluntarily provide medical consultation to COVID-19 patients.
The helpline and medical professional can provide guidance on use of medicines, oxygen concentrators and other medical facilities, the statement said.
In the wake of a sudden spike in coronavirus cases, there has been a shortage of beds, ICU facilities and oxygen in hospitals in some parts of the country, including Delhi.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)