On June 18, 2020 Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a meeting to review the escalating COVID-19 crisis in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR). Notably, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava, senior officials of NCR districts and Ministries of Home and Health and ICMR attended the meeting. As a matter of fact, Shah promised total co-operation and support of the Centre. He also emphasized on the need for Delhi and neighbouring areas to adopt a common strategy to tackle the situation effectively.
The New Virus Capital
Delhi-NCR recently became a hotspot of the virus cases with 49,979 confirmed cases in the capital alone. The average daily increase in the number of confirmed cases has grown by 9% against 6% daily average. Further, on June 9, the Delhi government had projected that the total COVID cases (including recoveries) would be around 1,00,007 by June 30 and 2,24,537 by July 15.
The National Capital Region (NCR) comprises select districts belonging to neighbouring Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Explicitly, the most prominent among them remain Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Faridabad, and Alwar. Keeping in view the close-knit urban structure of the NCR region, the Home Minister held the meeting to review the preparations for the management of the anticipated influx in the case numbers.
Highlights from the Review Meeting
The HM instructed health officials to set up rapid antigen testing facilities over 160 containment zones. For the reason of tracking, tracing and testing of coronavirus patients, Shah deemed necessary. Therefore, demanding a collaborative spirit from adjoining regions, Shah directed officials from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana Governments to submit information by July 15, 2020. This included COVID-19 beds, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, ICU and ambulances. So as to devise a common strategy in the National Capital Region (NCR) in the battle against the virus.
Price Caps on COVID-19 Tests
The Expert Committee under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog Member Dr V.K Paul set a price cap of Rs. 2,400 on COVID tests for Delhi. Similarly, the committee decided on rates for COVID-19 beds and treatment. Hence, Amit Shah suggested the other attendee states to follow suit.
“If the price for such tests is higher in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, then the state governments could decide to lower their prices after internal consultations, ” the home ministry statement said. Moreover, the statement adds that Shah asserted that “there is a need to work in a Mission Mode”.
Restricted Inter-State Travel
Lately, adjoining districts of Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad have imposed restrictions on the movement of people into and out of Delhi. This has led to extreme inconvenience to regular travellers. The same was also addressed in the review meeting.
Delhi on Friday reported its highest single-day coronavirus count of 3,137 new cases. The total Covid-19 cases reported in the month of June so far had crossed the 2 lakh mark. Therefore, they stood at 2,10,655 on Friday night, according to data from State governments.