‘COVID-19 5 tools of success’: Did Delhi govt succeed or flunk?

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New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference in New Delhi on June 1, 2020. Kejriwal announced on Monday that the borders of the national capital will be sealed for a week given the rising number of coronavirus cases, adding that further decision on the same will be based on the suggestions received from the public. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi:  Recently, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed his government has 5 tools to win the Covid battle in Delhi – beds, testing, oximeter, plasma therapy and survey.

This, even as Delhi’s Covid-19 tally is spiralling with increased speed. However, the BJP is unwilling to buy Kejriwal’s logic, with Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta crediting Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the better Covid infrastructure in the national capital Kejriwal has been boasting of. So, where did the Delhi government score and where did it flunk?

But all the 5 tools of Kejriwal’s success were only announced this weekend, way too late in the fight against coronavirus and whether they can yield results are a matter of outcome. However, that did not stop the Delhi CM from claiming, “From today, we have started conducting door-to-door surveys and screening to know about the exact status of corona in the national capital. We have also bought 4,000 oxygen concentrators for Covid-19 patients, and 20,000 tests are being conducted daily.”

But many within the BJP and even outside say Kejriwal’s tall claims are detached from reality and the ramping up of a deteriorating health infrastructure only started after Shah took charge of the battle against coronavirus, after the Delhi government faced severe criticism from the Supreme Court.

BJP MP Gautam Gambhir tweeted this morning, “SIMPLE QUESTION. After 14th of June meeting in Delhi of Amit Shah, Testing increased four-fold, Test prices reduced, Bed prices reduced, Started mapping at home, Made a 10,000-bed center. If ‘you’ did it all, then why not before 14 June?”

In fact, the Supreme Court was so angry at the Delhi government’s handling of the pandemic in the national capital that it dubbed it as “horrendous”.

As Kejriwal tom-toms about extra beds, the BJP cites how the Delhi Chief Minister, on June 7, announced a ban on “outsiders” from availing treatment in Delhi hospital owing to shortage of beds. As he looks back at the Delhi government’s diktat, East Delhi MP Gambhir dubs it as an example of an “idiotic order” which was later overruled by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.

Shah took command and held a series of meetings with the Delhi CM, mayors and the L-G followed by a surprise visit at LNJP Hospital in Delhi where he directed the Delhi Chief Secretary to install CCTVs.

As he visited the 10,000-bed Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre at Radha Soami Satsang Beas at Chattarpur in south Delhi and reviewed the preparedness, on Saturday, around 2,000 beds are already being made operational. More than 1,000 doctors, nurses and paramedic staff of the ITBP and other paramilitary forces have been deployed at the facility. An additional 1,000 paramedical, assistant and security staff has also been posted there.

As Kejriwal talked about his “5 tools for success”, the BJP is adamant to not cede an inch to its credit, which they claim has been salvaged at the Centre’s intervention. Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said, “After the intervention of Modi government, the situation in Delhi has improved otherwise the Kejriwal government had turned its back on the public.”

Kejriwal claimed on Saturday, “Delhi conducted the highest number of tests in a single day yesterday- 21,144. We have increased testing 4 times.” But Gupta claims that happened only after Shah’s intervention and the credit should not go to the Delhi government. He added on Sunday that the Delhi CM has “lost his right to remain as a CM” of the national capital.

Giving a statistical comparison, Gupta said, on June 14, a total of 9,937 beds were available in Delhi, but at present with the Centre’s intervention, about 30,000 beds have been arranged in Delhi.

However, even with the previously “horrendous” handling, the Delhi government had its share, however small, of successes. In April, Operation SHIELD was run in Delhi’s Dilshad Garden area under which 123 medical teams screened more than 15,000 people living in 4,032 houses in the east Delhi area which proved to be very successful.

Also, however belatedly, the Delhi government has attached 77 banquet halls for COVID-19 treatment that will help set up 11,229 beds to further ramp up medical infrastructure to deal with the Covid-19 situation in the city.

But as one weighs the successes and failures of the Delhi government, AAP’s claim of “5 tools of success” hasn’t left many impressed with the ruling party of Delhi, given the optics of Shah now driving Delhi’s fight against coronavirus.

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