NEW DELHI: Battling the surge in coronavirus cases in Delhi on a war-footing, the AAP government on Thursday announced sweeping measures including a steep Rs 2,000 fine for not wearing masks, reservation of 80 per cent ICU beds in private hospitals, doubling testing centres in every district and postponement of non-critical surgeries at health facilities.
Private hospitals have also been directed to increase the percentage of non-ICU COVID-19 beds from 50 per cent to 60 per cent.
The government will increase the number of RT-PCR test to 27,000 a day in the national capital and MBBS students and interns will be engaged to tackle the COVID-19 situation.
Arrangements are being made for over 1,400 ICU beds, including 663 in Delhi government hospitals and 750 at a central government facility, Kejriwal said, adding around 7,500 normal and 446 ICU beds are currently available for COVID-19 patients in Delhi.
"From today we have implemented the decision to reserve 80 percent ICU beds in all private hospitals for COVID-19 patients. It will increase ICU bed availability by 300-400 for coronavirus patients in Delhi hospitals."
The percentage of normal, non-ICU beds reserved in private hospitals for corona patients, are being increased from 50 per cent to 60 per cent till the peak of the pandemic is there, he said.
Hospitals have also been asked to postpone non-critical planned surgeries for the time being, he added
Delhi recorded 7,546 fresh COVID-19 cases on Thursday, taking the infection tally in the national capital to over 5.1 lakh, even as 98 more fatalities pushed the toll to 8,041, authorities said.
These fresh cases came out of the 62,437 tests conducted the previous day, including 22,067 RT-PCR tests, the highest till date.
The positivity rate stood at 12.09 per cent amid the festive season and rising pollution in the city, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi health department.
The highest single-day spike till date here -- 8,593 cases -- was recorded on November 11 when 85 fatalities were recorded.
Ninety-eight more fatalities were recorded, pushing the toll in the national capital to over 8,000-mark.
The active cases tally rose to 43,221 on Thursday from 42,458, the previous day.
The bulletin said the total number of cases has climbed to 5,10,630.