Delhi opens borders but closes hospital doors to those from outside
Hospitals run by the AAP government and private hospitals in the national capital will treat only Delhiites
NEW DELHI : The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government on Sunday decided to open its borders for the movement of people but limited treatment of patients for those from outside Delhi. It also decided to roll back the 70% special corona cess on the sale of liquor from 10 June.
The first decision comes against the backdrop of the need to remove restrictions on movement of people to revive the economy on one hand and the stretched healthcare services following the coronavirus outbreak on the other.
Delhi government and private hospitals will be made available to residents of Delhi, chief minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said during a digital press conference.
However, central government hospitals and speciality hospitals in Delhi will be made available for treatment of patients from everywhere.
The Delhi government had on Monday invited suggestions from the public on opening of borders. Delhi’s borders with the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had been sealed for a week.
The government survey also asked whether or not treatment of patients from outside Delhi should be allowed in Delhi hospitals, especially as the opening of borders could lead to additional burden on the hospitals.
This assumes significance as Delhi has one of the highest number of covid-19 cases in the country. Central government hospitals in Delhi have a total of 10,000 beds; state government hospitals have a similar number of beds.
However, there has been an increasing number of incidents of patients being denied treatment in hospitals, with the number of covid-19 cases rising by more than 1,000 each day over the last week.
The survey received more than 750,000 suggestions from the public.
“From Monday, the borders of Delhi will be opened. We felt that the hospitals may have to handle additional burden, what with the borders opening. The cabinet has decided that we need to create a balance. The Delhi government hospitals will be reserved for people from Delhi. The central government hospitals will be opened for people from anywhere. Private hospitals [are also] to be reserved for people from Delhi. However, private hospitals that do specialized treatments will be allowed to treat patients from across the country," Kejriwal said.
While the Delhi government decided to roll back the 70% special corona cess on the sale of liquor from 10 June, it increased the value-added tax, or VAT, on all categories of liquor from 20% to 25%, according to the PTI.
However, the demand and sale of alcohol had seen a decline in May.