NEW DELHI: Expressing his concern over the steep rise in coronavirus infections in Delhi in the last one week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that while the rise in numbers is a matter of concern, residents don't need to panic.
The government is four steps ahead of the COVID-19 disease and gearing up to enhance capacity to accommodate more patients suffering from the contagion in government and private hospitals, he added.
"It is a matter of concern, but we don't need to panic. I assure people that the government is four steps ahead of the coronavirus. Delhi is witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases, we accept it. But there is nothing to worry about, we are fully prepared. We should worry when the number increases and there is a shortage of beds," he said.
Stating that the country cannot be in permanent lockdown, the CM said that the government is focusing on arrangements for COVID-19 treatment instead.
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He said in the last one week, 2,100 more beds for coronavirus-infected people had been arranged and within a week, the city will have 9,500 beds reserved for COVID-19 patients.
"We have issued an order already and by June 5, we will have 9,500 beds, as we are also taking over private hotels. If required, we will install oxygen concentrators there. Though positive cases have increased since May 14 from 8,500 to about 17,000, only 500 more patients were admitted to the hospitals. There were 1,600 people in hospitals till May 14 while at present, a total of 2,100 are recuperating. Still, we have 4,500 beds vacant. That is why I am saying don't fear. Most are recovering at home as they have very mild symptoms such as low fever or cough. There is no need to panic,” said Kejriwal.
The fourth phase of the lockdown to contain the pandemic will end on Sunday.
In Delhi, coronavirus cases rose to 17,386 on Friday, and there have been 398 deaths so far.
Kejriwal said that the government will launch a mobile application next week containing comprehensive information on hospitals for coronavirus infection treatment including vacant beds and Intensive Care Units (ICU) reserved for COVID-19 patients.
"All information will also be available on helpline number 1,031," he said.