Addressing a digital press conference on Saturday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the Delhi government has made several preparations well in advance for a possible third wave of Covid-19 in Delhi. The CM chaired two meetings on Friday with the Expert and the Preparations Committees, and made several decisions to mitigate the impact of the third wave.
Kejriwal said, “Experts are saying that a third wave is bound to emerge, but nobody has any information on when such a wave will arrive and how dangerous it could be. It is our duty to be prepared so that if a third wave does arrive and turns out to be extremely dangerous, the government should be prepared. The preparations for this are under full swing in the Delhi government and yesterday (on Friday), I chaired two different meetings with experts as well as officers who were working during the coronavirus situation. We have formulated two committees and carried out detailed discussions with them.”
He said, “This time, the coronavirus peak saw a maximum of 28,000 cases in a single day, which was around April 22 or 23. Based on this figure, we estimated how high the next peak might be. After our discussions, it was concluded that we should prepare for a peak of 37,000 cases per day. This however, does not mean that if the peak goes beyond this figure, we will not be prepared. We are ready for even that, but if you are prepared on a base of 37,000 Corona cases, then even if we cross the limit, we will be prepared for it. Thus, all calculations are being made as to how many beds will be needed, how many ICU beds will be needed, how many will be needed for children, how much oxygen will be needed, how many medicines will be required.”
He added, “A separate pediatric task force has been created, which will decide how many oxygen beds will have to be reserved for children and how many ICU beds are to be reserved for them. For children, different types of equipment will be required, different masks, different oxygen masks. The pediatric task force formed yesterday (on Friday) will give its recommendations separately.”
The CM said, “This time there was a huge shortage of oxygen due to which we did not get oxygen beds. Ultimately after the intervention of the Supreme Court and with the support of the central government, we did get oxygen. We don’t want to face such a situation should another wave arrive. Therefore, preparations have been made – a storage capacity of 420 tons of oxygen is being readied. We’ve had talks with Indraprastha Gas Limited and they have been asked to prepare a 1.5 tonne oxygen production plant, for which they have said that it will take 18 months.”
He added, “We also faced a shortage of oxygen tankers. Since Delhi is not an industrial state, we don’t have oxygen tanks. Therefore, 25 oxygen tankers are being bought so that if we face a problem then we have our oxygen tankers. Sixty four small oxygen plants are being installed, and we hope this will be completed in another 1-2 months.”
He said, “Now that we have decided 37,000 as the peak, then the number of oxygen beds, ICU beds will be decided accordingly and based on that it will be decided as to how many oxygen cylinders will be needed. For example, we imported 6,000 cylinders from China recently so how many more oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators will be needed will be decided. In the next 1-2 months, the Delhi government is going to buy a lot of oxygen concentrators.”
He also said, “Two important decisions have been taken with regard to medicines. Firstly, it was seen that a lot of medicines were being prescribed on WhatsApp and once these medicines were being circulated as being effective then it became chaos across. So, a team of doctors and experts will be set up. If there is a demand for a particular medicine, then the doctors will examine and inform whether a particular medicine will be beneficial in treating coronavirus or not. If the doctors approve, the government will try to commission that medicine and if the doctors say that the medicine is not necessary and that the people should stop running after that medicine then the public will be made aware of it.”
The CM said, “A list has been prepared for all important medicines, and a buffer stock will be created for those medicines. Keeping in mind the expiry date of medicines, a buffer stock is being created, and even private hospitals have been directed to do so, so that if the pandemic returns, then we are prepared for it. Apart from this, genome sequencing labs are being created in LNJP hospital and ILBS so that we also know about the variant that comes to Delhi – whether it is an old one or a new variant has emerged and then we can ask experts as to what precautions we need to take. I want to assure you that your government is working 24 hours to mitigate the situation. I hope that the third wave does not come, and we will try to vaccinate our people before that, but if the third wave does emerge, then the people should not face any difficulty."
Decisions with regards to human resource & beds escalation
Decisions on Covid-19 treatment-related drugs
In a focused approach to ensure universal vaccination of citizens of Delhi in the 45 and above age segment, the state will adopt a polling booth wise approach. The field level team, composed of BLOs and CDVs would go from house to house booth wise and find out the vaccination status of those eligible for vaccination. The leftover eligible beneficiaries willing to get vaccinated will be registered on the Co-WIN portal and told about the vaccination facility being made available in their polling booth near their home. Those who are hesitant or not eligible at the moment for vaccination shall be counseled.
The Delhi government will also make arrangements in the form of Near To Home Covid Vaccination Centers (NHCVC) in the polling booths. This is to ensure that all beneficiaries above 45 years of age are reached and vaccination made accessible to them near their home. All assembly constituencies shall be covered in a phased manner in the next few weeks.