Delhi is ready to set up 63,800 Covid-19 beds, some of them at short notice within two weeks, in the event of an outbreak of the Omicron variant of the disease, Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday.
Kejriwal chaired a meeting of the affected departments to review the readiness of Delhi in the event of a third wave in the country due to the new Omicron variant. Delhi has 30,000 oxygen beds ready, 10,000 of which are in the intensive care unit (ICU), he said at a virtual media briefing. During the second wave (fourth for Delhi), the capital increased the number of oxygen beds up to 25,000. Up to 6,800 additional beds will be built in the intensive care unit by February next year, said the Prime Minister.
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“We will soon have almost 17,000 intensive care beds in Delhi alone. In addition to the 30,000 beds, we have planned 100 oxygen beds in each ward, which can be set up at short notice in just two weeks if necessary. That way, Delhi will have 63,800 beds in case a third wave hits the city, ”said Kejriwal.
The personnel requirements for the large number of beds will also be arranged and the people trained, he said. In June and July, the government built a force of 5,000 so-called community nursing assistants by training young people aged 18 and over with a high school diploma so that they can help medical professionals in the event of a third wave.
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“We hope the Omicron variant doesn’t reach Delhi, but we’re still taking precautions to deal with it. During the last wave we had a serious lack of oxygen. Currently, all of the hospitals in Delhi have a total capacity of 750 MT. The problem we faced last time was that of oxygen storage and transportation. We couldn’t store the oxygen that the center used to send or transport by trains due to a lack of tankers. Now we have 442 MT of storage capacity for oxygen that we didn’t have during the last wave. We are also buying 15 tankers that will be here in about a month, ”said the Prime Minister.
The city suffered a punitive fourth wave of Covid-19 infections between April and May that overloaded health infrastructure, overwhelmed medical staff and resulted in crematoriums running out of space. Over 760,000 people were infected during this period; between April and May alone, over 13,000 died of the infection. The falls in the city will begin around mid-May due to a lockdown that the state government will apply from Jan.
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“Delhi used to have no capacity to produce oxygen. Now we have PSA systems that can produce up to 121 MT oxygen per day. Last time we didn’t have any free space for oxygen bottles. Now we have 6,000 empty Type D bottles that we imported from China that will help set up makeshift oxygen beds if necessary. We currently have three private oxygen refill plants in Delhi, which now have a capacity of 1,500 tons per day. In addition, the Delhi government has also built two bottling plants with a capacity of almost 1,400 tons per day. So we now have a daily capacity of 2,900 tons to refill bottles in Delhi, ”said Kejriwal.
In order to ensure adequate oxygen management, a problem identified during the last wave in Delhi, where there was little responsibility for the optimal use of oxygen by hospitals and nursing homes, the government has decided to install telemetry equipment on all oxygen tankers, either private or private government to monitor the availability and delivery of oxygen in real time through a joint command and control center.
The prime minister said the government is now ordering 32 types of drugs needed to treat Covid-19 patients to create a two-month buffer inventory. The teams previously involved in tracking patients in isolation were also asked to put in place the necessary infrastructure to be able to make follow-up calls if necessary.
“The vaccination status in Delhi is good. Around 97% of Delhi’s citizens received the first dose and 57% received the second dose, ”said the Prime Minister. “I appeal to those who have not received their second dose to get the vaccination as soon as possible. We sincerely hope that the Omicron variant and the third wave of Covid-19 will not come. But even if we do, we are ready to tackle it. The people in Delhi don’t have to worry. “
No case of the strongly mutated Omicron variant of Sars-Cov-2 has been detected in India, although one cluster each is being examined in Maharashtra and Karnataka.