Coronavirus: India calls in army to run Delhi treatment centres

Labourers working in a religious centre in New Delhi yesterday to convert it into a 10,000-bed facility to house Covid-19 patients.
Labourers working in a religious centre in New Delhi yesterday to convert it into a 10,000-bed facility to house Covid-19 patients.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW DELHI • India reported 16,000 new coronavirus cases yesterday, its highest daily increase since the outbreak began, and the government called in the army to manage new treatment centres with thousands of additional hospital beds in New Delhi.

At more than 456,000 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, India is the fourth-worst hit country in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and Russia, according to a Reuters tally.

Cases are expected to keep rising as state governments ease restrictions in place since a lockdown was first imposed in late March.

New Delhi, the sprawling capital of more than 20 million people, also recorded its highest single-day increase yesterday, with more than 3,900 cases.

Local government data showed that of the roughly 13,400 beds allocated to Covid-19 patients in the city, around 6,200 were occupied.

The federal Home Ministry said that the city would have around 20,000 additional beds available by next week at temporary facilities run by army doctors and nurses.

These include a 10,000-bed facility hosted at a religious centre and railway coaches turned into wards.

"Armed forces personnel have been detailed for providing medical care and attention to Covid-19 patients housed in the railway coaches in Delhi," Home Minister Amit Shah said.

The city government estimates that it will have 550,000 Covid-19 cases by the end of next month, and will require 150,000 beds by then.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that a new federal government order to take every positive patient to an assessment centre, as opposed to evaluating them at home, was stretching already limited resources.

"Our ambulance system, our medical system is under pressure now.

 
 
 

"Today, we are having to take patients in buses," Mr Sisodia said, adding that he had written to the federal Home Ministry.

He added: "This (rule) is creating chaos in New Delhi."

REUTERS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2020, with the headline 'India calls in army to run Delhi treatment centres'. Print Edition | Subscribe