Struggling with a shortage of beds, the Delhi government has directed district magistrates and other officials concerned to make arrangements for 20,000 additional beds to accommodate more COVID-19 patients within a week, as the national capital continued to witness an alarming spurt in COVID-19 cases.
An official said that around 40 hotels and 80 banquet halls will be converted into health facilities to provide medical care to coronavirus-infected people.
However, the Delhi government on Sunday night withdrew its order issued a day earlier declaring small and medium multi-speciality nursing homes in the city having 10 to 49 beds as "COVID nursing homes" to increase the bed capacity for coronavirus patients.
The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) had opposed the Saturday order.
On Sunday''s morning, Kejriwal said had the bed strength in the national capital for treating coronavirus patients will increase by 5,000 due to the decision.
The DMA, in the letter, had raised concerns saying the order is going to harm healthcare needs of the non-COVID patients and will put residents of small colonies at severe risk
According to the Delhi Corona app at 10 PM, the number of beds in private, centre and state run hospitals is 98,56 and of these 5,453 beds have been occupied and 4,403 are vacant.
"Hotels will have 4,000 beds while banquets halls will have 11,000 beds," the official said.
Official said that 5,000 beds will be set up at other establishments by the authorities in the city.
Delhi recorded 2,224 fresh coronavirus cases on Sunday in the highest single-day spike in the national capital, taking the infection tally to over 41,000, and the death toll mounted to 1,327, authorities said.
This is the third successive day when over 2,000 cases have been reported in a day in Delhi. The previous highest spike in fresh cases -- 2,137 -- was recorded on June 12.
Earlier this month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that Delhi would need 1.5 lakh beds by July 31 if people from other states start coming to the national capital for treatment.
There has been criticism from different quarters over the handling of COVID-19 cases in the capital, with complaints of non-availability of beds in hospitals for patients and difficulty in getting the tests done in laboratories.
After the Supreme Court too expressed concern, the Arvind Kejriwal government said it accepts with utmost respect and sincerity the apex court''s remarks and pointed out that it was trying its best to set up better infrastructure and provide quality healthcare to all COVID-19 patients in the city. Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Sunday inspected the site of a proposed 10,000-bed makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients in South Delhi.
The planned COVID-19 facility will come up under a sprawling tent on the campus of spiritual organisation Radha Soami Satsang Beas on the Delhi-Haryana border.
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held meetings with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and three mayors to review steps to combat the coronavirus.
Terming his meeting with Shah as "extremely productive", Kejriwal said several key decisions were taken and the Centre and the Delhi government will fight the COVID-19 together in the national capital.
In a statement, the Delhi government said that the Centre and the AAP dispensation has agreed on an immediate action plan to increase capacity of beds, increase testing and other important initiatives.
Taking to Twitter after the meeting, Shah announced that the COVID-19 testing will be doubled in Delhi in the next two days and subsequently increased by three times.
In view of shortage of beds for coronavirus infected patients in Delhi, the Modi government has decided to immediately provide 500 railway coaches which will be equipped with all facilities, he said.
The Railways will not run any trains from Anand Vihar station from Monday and all the platforms will be used to deploy isolation coaches for coronavirus patients that the Centre will provide to the Delhi government to overcome the shortage of hospital beds, sources said Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government''s social welfare department has asked its officials to avoid face-to-face meetings to the extent possible to avoid becoming carriers of coronavirus.
It has also prohibited visits by friends and relatives of officials. The officers have been directed to attend meetings via video and audio calls.
If a face-to-face meeting becomes essential, the official concerned will have to ensure that it gets over in 15 minutes, the department said while issuing new guidelines to be followed in office.