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A Month After the Centre’s Intervention, Is There a Silver Lining for Delhi?

Centre’s intervention

On July 29, 2020 the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal shed light on one indicator among many, which signal the way Delhi has managed the Corona situation effectively in the month of July against the earlier months. The major point highlighted by the CM is that on 27th of July, Delhi’s Lok Nayak hospital for first time in the past two months reported no deaths. While this is certainly great news and a reprieve for all, and the doctors and the administration need to be credited for this, it should also be acknowledged that the same hospital was in the news for all the wrong reasons before Home Minister Amit Shah made an intervention.

The development at LNJP hospital is only a case in point. As the state government in its press interactions claimed, since the beginning of July, death rate had reduced from 3.1% to 2.9%, accompanied by a greater recovery rate. “As on July 26, the positivity rate, average rate of samples testing positive, has steadily fallen to 6%, from 11% in the beginning of the month. The active cases had reduced to less than 10% of the total,” said an official.

Now the pertinent question is why did Delhi fail to have this control mechanism in the months of May and June itself? This makes one thing clear – things came under control as co-ordination between various levels of administration became possible only after the Centre stepped in. It was in June 15 that Union Home Minister Amit Shah stepped in to hold consultations. The quick steps he took in the very first meeting were: ramping up the testing, deputing the Central officials to oversee the Covid management in Delhi, directions to hospitals for Covid treatment.

The next day Amit Shah paid a surprise visit to Lok Nayak Jay Prakash Narayan hospital and gave specific instructions. That is how the things which were in disarray were set to role in harmony.

See the headlines emerged from LNJP hospitals before HM Amit Shah intervened and after.

Now, a sign of improvement is definitely visible.

Of Course, this particular incident at LNJP hospital alone can’t assure much. But there are subtexts to this which effectively assure that the things are changing for the better.

As this report from Hindustan Times on July 28, 2020 notes that Delhi now has the 42% more beds than it had a month ago, suggesting it was amply prepared in case of a resurgence of cases.

After the Centre stepped in, Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre with 10,000 beds was quickly made available to the public.

Now, a Delhi government study claims that no deaths in home isolation occurred in July, which is of course a welcome trend. But again, the same question arises – what prevented the Delhi government to ensure the same back in May and June when things deteriorated in April itself? The fact is that the Delhi government previously shunned its duty of testing and early detection despite several warnings from the centre. It is only after the centre’s intervention that aggressive testing and house to house survey in containment zones followed.

So, when Kejriwal today tweets and talks about positive turn of events in Delhi, no one can obscure the fact that the Centre’s intervention remains a driving factor.