Delhi’s Corona Facilities Get a Facelift: CCTVs in Wards, 500 Railway Coaches for Additional Beds


Delhi’s Corona Facilities Get a Facelift: CCTVs in Wards, 500 Railway Coaches for Additional Beds

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The coronavirus pandemic — at least in India’s most populous cities — shows no signs of letting up, with the Supreme Court saying on Friday that patients in many cases were being treated “worse than animals.” Following a “surprise inspection” to Delhi by Home Minister Amit Shah, and based on his recommendations, the Arvind Kejriwal government has now mandated that CCTV cameras be installed in Covid-19 wards of all hospitals, to ensure patients are monitored.

The announcement came along with a slew of other measures, less than a week after the SC had observed that the situation in Delhi was “horrendous, horrific, and pathetic”.

The court had also pulled up the administrations of many other states, after clips were shared on social media showing bodies left in hospital corridors for hours, and several patients alleging that exorbitant charges were being levied by private hospitals.

Among the measures now announced in the NCR is the implementation of back-up canteens to maintain food supply in case a kitchen is forced to shut down. A number of reports said counsellors will also be made available for doctors and nurses who are the frontlines of the pandemic.

“Patients still manage to recover and go back home after 10-14 days, but doctors and nurses are working in the same wards and environment and are prone to stress and anxiety,” Shah was quoted as saying.

The measures come after the Union Minister held a series of meetings to take stock of the pandemic, especially in the NCR region. The Delhi government has earlier indicated that it may need around 80,000 beds for treatment by the end of July.

After the meeting, the Home Minister had also promised 500 railway coaches would be converted into coronavirus facilities in the state, NDTV reported. This is expected to add around 20,000 beds to Delhi’s tally.

The measures have led to a lot of political back and forth, with some questioning whether the Home Minister was unofficially taking charge of the state. But the people of Delhi will likely only be focussed on whether the new announcement will help them through this crisis.