Virus: Delhi worries about shortage of beds

New Delhi | Ashwani Jain, a 45-year-old New Delhi resident, died of coronavirus in an ambulance. Like an increasing number of patients, he was not admitted to hospital due to lack of beds.

“It doesn’t matter to them whether they live or die,” testified to AFP Kashish, her 20-year-old daughter.

At the time of the death of her father, a businessman, she was with her uncle in the ambulance who went looking for a place in one of the hospitals in the megalopolis.

“It won’t change anything for them but I lost my father who was everything to me,” she says, tears in her eyes while showing her photo.

All the hospitals contacted by the family refused to admit this patient.

An application has however been set up by the city government to find out the number of beds available for patients with Covid-19 disease.

The sharp rise in cases of contamination testifies to the precariousness of the Indian health system and this shortage of beds is causing growing concern among the population.

India has registered more than 300,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, which has left almost 9,000 people dead.

The megalopolis of 20 million inhabitants today lists some 1,200 dead from this epidemic. Over a thousand new cases are recorded daily.

The rhythm of deaths is such that, in morgues, the bodies pile up while the staff of cemeteries and crematoriums cannot keep up with the rhythm.

Indian media reports many people who died after being refused hospital treatment.

A pregnant woman died while commuting between different hospitals.

Several families have told on social media how they were denied a hospital bed.

In March, at the time of the first containment measures, the Jain family took part in a concert of saucepans to encourage the nursing staff. Now they feel abandoned.

A small fortune

“The government does nothing. They just play with our feelings, ”says bitter Kashish.

Like the other family members, she is waiting to be tested. Local government only allows them for family members who are at high risk or have symptoms.

The latter estimates to need at least 80,000 beds by the end of July. He warned that if necessary hotels and wedding halls to be transformed into a hospital.

Currently, public hospitals have 8,505 beds for people with the virus and 1,441 in private facilities.

Families of patients claim to have paid a small fortune for the few places available.

Suman Gulati, whose father is a carrier of coronavirus, says that a private establishment asked him for a million rupees (11,700 euros) for a bed.

“Once I paid, finding a bed was not a problem. But raising such a sum in such a difficult moment has been, ”she admits.

“What will happen if I get sick too?” Should I sell my goods, my jewelry? ”

A hidden camera report by Mirror Now TV showed that five hospitals in the megalopolis asked the carriers of the coronavirus 4,700 euros to be admitted.

The chief executive of the capital, Arvind Kejriwal, accused private establishments of lying about the number of available beds and promised to punish those responsible for extortion.

Specialists are questioning the city’s ability to cope with the pandemic.

Shahid Jameel, virologist, says that New Delhi, like other mega-cities, has not tested enough people. So far, only 1% has been.

“Right now, the Delhi government is doing everything to panic people,” he told AFP.

“He should test intensively. I don’t understand the logic of testing only people with symptoms. How will you know how widespread the infection has been in the community if you don’t test its members? “

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