State Action: Containing COVID-19 Spread in Delhi

9 April 2020
A GROUND REPORT ON STEPS TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL CAPITAL TERRITORY OF DELHI

HEALTH

Infrastructure and facility adequacy

  • In a press conference on 7 April 2020, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal outlined the '5T Plan' to deal with the crisis. The plan comprises mass testing among other action points. The government has ordered testing equipment (more than 1,00,000 kits have been ordered) for identified hotspots, he said. Mass testing in the hotspots will commence from 10 April. The 5Ts are: Testing, Tracing, Treatment, Teamwork and Tracking and Monitoring.
  • Delhi has an estimated bed capacity of 2,450 beds in government hospitals and 500 beds in private hospitals for COVID-19 patients. The Delhi government plans to increase capacity to be able to treat up to 30,000 active patients should the need arise.
  • Following a spike in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in late March, the Delhi government requested the Union government for Personal Protective Equipment. Media reports (and interviews by the Health Minister) suggest that the Union government has allocated 27,000 PPEs. The Delhi government has also approached private vendors for procurement.
  • As per an order on 25 March 2020, all healthcare facility workers/doctors who are engaged in treatment and collection of samples of COVID-19 patients will be tested. All patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) in government hospitals will also be tested for the virus.
  • Another order passed on 20th March mandated a 'health readiness' check in all health facilities under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government. This is to ensure machines and equipment are in working condition. These include ventilators, high flow oxygen masks, and sufficient medicines and consumables to manage excess patient load.

Prevention of pandemic Stage 3 (Community Transmission)

  • There will be no relaxation to the lockdown in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced on 19th April. The CM may review status on 27th April. All 11 districts in Delhi have been declared as hotspots, and will remain under lockdown rules till 3rd May.
  • 84 containment zones have been announced in Delhi.
  • Masks are compulsory for all when stepping out of home.
  • 21 containment areas have been identified and entry or exit there has been disallowed.
  • As part of the cluster containment strategy, 50 surveillance teams comprising ASHAs, Anganwadi workers and ANMs will conduct door-to-door surveys in  designated containment zones for comprehensive information on cases.
  • New: 80% deaths of patients above 50 and 83% cases of patients with an existing disease (co-morbidity).

Operation S.H.I.E.L.D

  • Launched on 9th April, the Delhi Government has started marking areas as ‘containment zones’ (number of such zones change on a daily basis).
  • S stands for Sealing: Sealing the contaminated areas based on risk factors and spread of the disease.
  • H stands for Home Quarantine: After sealing the areas, the next step is to home quarantine the people living in the contaminated areas.
  • I stands for Isolation and Tracing: Tracing the first and second contacts of the COVID-19 patients, and isolating them to contain the transmission of the virus.
  • E stands for Essential Supply: All the essential items will be delivered in the areas declared as hotspots.
  • L for Local Sanitisation: The government is sanitising affected areas.
  • D for Door-to-door Health Checks: In the last stage of this Operation, the Delhi Government will conduct door-to-door check-ups to ensure that no one has developed symptoms.

Personnel

  • The Delhi government has announced compensation of INR 1 crore for the family in case a health worker contracts and passes away in the line of duty.
  • On 18th April, compensation of INR 1 crore was extended to include teachers, police staff and firemen among others who terminally contract Coronavirus in the line of duty.
  • Leaves of all government employed medical, paramedical and nursing staff have been cancelled.
  • All interns, nurses, 3rd year PG students and Residents will be assigned to COVID-19 related duties.

EDUCATION

  • Private schools may only be able to charge tuition fee till the time schools re-open without causing disruption to online classes, irrespective of payment of fees.
  • Private schools also cannot withhold salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff.
  • An estimated 44 lakh students are at home due to the lockdown. Students till Standard VIII have now been promoted under the No Detention Policy. Exams of other senior classes have been cancelled.
  • As the new academic year cannot commence from 1st April, the Delhi government has come up with a plan to encourage learning activities through remote means. For instance, parents of students in KG to Standard VIII are being sent activities using an IVRS number. Students of Standard XI, whose exams have been cancelled, are going to continue studies online and will be sent INR 200 through Direct Benefit Transfers for data packs.
  • Many of Delhi's 325 public schools have been converted into night shelters for provision of meals to migrant workers.
  • New: NCERT and CBSE have proposed to reduce syllabus by 30% for next academic cycle and for cases where exams couldn’t be held, students to be promoted based on internal assessment.

RATION AND MEALS

  • On 22nd March, the Delhi government announced allocation of ration to approximately 72 lakh beneficiaries through the existing Public Distribution System. They can avail 6 kgs of wheat (instead of 4 kgs) and 1.5 kgs of rice (instead of 1 kg) for the month of April 2020.
  • New: 30 lakh additional people will be eligible to claim ration (with no ration card). 2,000 food coupons to be given to each local elected representative for ration to be claimed by people who have no documents at all.
  • Considering the fact that many people will not have ration cards, the Delhi government has been working on a mechanism to ensure foodgrain availability through an online website registration system. Approximately 10 lakh people are likely to benefit, including 6.5 lakh people who have applied for ration cards but have not received theirs yet.
  • An estimated 10 lakh people will be provided meals through collaborations with NGOs and religious organisations. Close to 1,780 centres have been set up for this purpose.
  • New: In the month of May, people who get ration shall also get a ‘kit’ with other essentials including pulse, cooking oil, spices and soap etc.

STIMULUS PACKAGES AND SOCIAL SECURITY 

  • About 1 lakh eligible people with disabilities will receive INR 5,000 instead of INR 2,500 in the month of April.
  • 2.5 lakh eligible widows will be provided pension of INR 5,000 in April 2020 instead of INR 2,500.
  • Senior citizens are eligible to receive INR 4,000 instead of INR 2,000. Senior citizens above the age of 70 years will get INR 5,000 instead of INR 2,500.
  • Daily wage construction workers are eligible to receive INR 5,000 in Delhi.
  • District Magistrates/Municipal Commissioners can now take penal action against landlords who evict tenants working as healthcare professionals in the pandemic response. 
  • New: Stand alone shops have now been allowed to open in Delhi.

EMERGENCY SERVICES

  • A public hotline has been started by the Delhi Police in case of any inconvenience and for assistance during the lockdown period. The number is: 011-23469536.
  • Information about Coronavirus response related services offered by the Delhi government is available through popular messaging app - WhatsApp. The information can be sourced by sending a “Hi” on 8800007722.
  • New: The Delhi government has launched a website for COVID-19 related updates www.delhifightscorona.in with dynamic updates.

Note: This blog is live and will be updated as and when new information is shared by the government publically. Last updated: 29 April 2020.

The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.