By Smita Prakash
New Delhi [India], June 28 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that remarks made by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in early June about the national capital reaching 5.5 lakh COVID-19 cases by the end of July had created "fear" among people and he expressed confidence that the stage will not be reached.
He also said that there was no community transmission of the disease in the national capital.
In an interview with ANI that was limited to the Centre and Delhi Government's efforts to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in the nation's capital, Home Minister Amit Shah said a series of steps had been taken to contain the virus and multi-agency meetings had been held to improve coordination at various levels.
"Around the second week of June, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that by July 31 there will be 5.50 lakh persons infected with the virus. He said that there will be no place left, no beds left and the situation will be difficult. This created a lot of fear in the minds of people in Delhi. His estimate was based on figures. I do not want to go into whether estimate was right or wrong. But a situation of fear arose and some people started mulling an exodus (out of Delhi)," said Amit Shah.
"Till June 15, there will be 44,000 COVID-19 cases and we would need 6,600 beds. We would hit one lakh cases and would require 15,000 beds by June 30. There will be around 2.25 lakh cases till July 15 and COVID-19 cases will reach around 5.5 lakh by July 31," Sisodia had said after a meeting of the state disaster management authority chaired by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal in early June.
Amit Shah disagreed with the prediction made by the Delhi Deputy CM."I can say now with confidence that situation of 5.5 lakh cases will not come on July 31," he added.
Answering a query about the need of coordination meeting called by him on June 14 which was attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, LG Anil Baijal and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and some experts, Shah said normally it is the duty of the Delhi government regarding coordination and improving the systems.
"But after remarks of Manish ji, I felt that the central government should not stay idle. Modi ji has accountability towards the country. PM also told me that the Home Ministry should take initiative to move forward and help the Delhi government. We are helping Delhi government but for coordination, central government called a meeting," he said.
"We will be in good condition (By July 31st) because we have laid stress on preventive steps including more tests and contact tracing," he added.
When asked about the difference of opinion between the Centre and Delhi Government on announcing whether 'Community Spread' of the Coronavirus had begun in Delhi, Amit Shah said that Delhi had not reached that state yet and if and when that stage would come, the Central government would not hesitate in making the announcement.
"I have talked to three senior-most officials - Dr Paul (from Niti Aayog), IMCR chief Dr Bhargava and Dr Guleria (AIIMS New Delhi Director). This situation has not come to Delhi. Such situation appeared because of the total tests done, earlier 30 per cent turned out to be positive and that was happening because tests were done at the last moment. Now that we have started doing 20,000 tests on average, this condition is not there. I have held technical discussions on this...today this situation is not there in Delhi. There is no need to fear," he said.
Delhi's Health Minister Satyendra Jain said earlier in the month that the onus was on the Centre to declare Community transmission. "There is transmission in the community. But whether it is community transmission or not can be declared by the Centre only," said Jain.
In his interview to ANI, Home Minister Amit Shah also referred to Delhi government's decision about hospitals reserving COVID-19 beds only for residents of the national capital and said it was reversed.
The Home Minister said even he is from outside Delhi. "Where will I go, if something happens to me. Delhi is the capital of the country. And people from different states stay here, come and go," he said, adding that a lot of people from neighbouring states stay in Delhi.
Amit Shah also struck a placatory tone in his interview and said that there was coordination between the Centre and the State in tackling Covid in Delhi. "There is coordination...Arvind Kejriwal is always kept in the loop. Decisions are taken by involving him also," added Shah.
He said shortcomings came to attention in the meetings he held about the Covid situation in Delhi and it was decided that every house in containment zone in Delhi will be surveyed by June 30. The minister said that testing was also ramped up.
The decisions announced after June 14 meeting called by the Home Minister included increasing testing three-fold in six days, providing 500 converted rail coaches to add 8,000 beds and steps for the availability of 60 per cent coronavirus beds in private hospitals at lower rates. (ANI)
By Smita Prakash