This is the second meeting between Amit Shah and Arvind Kejriwal in less than a week over the pandemic.
New Delhi, June 14:
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan will meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal this morning to review the national capital’s response to coronavirus, two days after the Supreme Court pulled up the Delhi government over the “horrendous, horrific and pathetic” situation in the city. The meeting comes amid spike in the COVID-19 infections in the national capital, which has the third highest number of virus cases in India after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
This is the second meeting between Amit Shah and Arvind Kejriwal in less than a week over the pandemic. Today’s meeting, which begins at 11 am, will also be attended by the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director of AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) and members of the SDMA (State Disaster Management Authority), the Union Home Minister’s Office tweeted on Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met Amit Shah, Dr Harsh Vardhan and other ministers over the rise in COVID-19 infections in the country, the fourth worst-hit by the pandemic. They discussed the situation in the states and Union Territories, including Delhi, where coronavirus cases have been rising.
The Supreme Court on Friday blasted the Delhi government over the handling of the outbreak as it sought a response on the fall in coronavirus testing in the city. Slamming the AAP government for not following the Union Health Ministry’s guidelines, the top court said: “The situation in Delhi is horrendous, horrific and pathetic. (There is a) very sorry state of affairs in its hospitals that aren’t giving due care and concern to the bodies.” It also sent notices to centre, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
“COVID-19 patients are treated worse than animals. In one case, a body was found in the garbage,” the court said. The national capital has logged around 38,958 cases so far and around 1,214 deaths linked to the illness, straining the health infrastructure, even as the Chief Minister has repeatedly said that the city is ready to tackle the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted that Union Home Minister “assured of all the cooperation” as they met hours after the Delhi Chief Minister said that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s orders overruling his government’s decisions on coronavirus would be strictly followed, without question.
Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who represents the centre, had earlier this week cancelled the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s decision to reserve hospitals except those run by the centre for residents of Delhi. He also reversed a decision to test only those showing symptoms of COVID-19 and said asymptomatic cases and high-risk contacts of a virus patient will also be tested.
Mr Kejriwal had said the city would soon run out of beds if COVID-19 patients kept coming from across India to its hospitals, drawing criticism that he was being unethical. Mr Baijal, who has frequently clashed with Mr Kejriwal and his leaders, said denying treatment simply because someone was not a resident of the capital would be legally impermissible.
“This is not the time for politics. This is not the time for disagreements,” the Delhi Chief Minister said on Wednesday, a day after he tested negative for coronavirus.
The spike in virus cases in Delhi, expected to rise to 5.5 lakh cases by July 31, is mirrored by a similar increase in coronavirus cases nationwide. Across India, more than 3 lakh are affected by the pandemic, over 8,000 have died.