06/06/2020 4:48 PM IST

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Warns Action Against 'Black-Marketing Of Beds' As COVID Cases Rise

“We will take strong action against such hospitals and they cannot refuse patients," Kejriwal said in a virtual press briefing.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday warned strong action against the “black-marketing of beds” saying some private hospitals in the city have been refusing admission to COVID-19 patients and demanding lakhs of rupees for beds. 

He reiterated his previous claim that Delhi has no shortage of hospital beds and said the Delhi government will deploy medical professionals at private hospitals to keep tabs on beds, PTI reported. 

As the number of coronavirus cases and COVID-related deaths rises in the city, several people have reported not being able to find beds at hospitals in the city. 

“We will take strong action against such hospitals and they cannot refuse patients. Some time will be needed to break the mafia who are indulging in it. These few hospitals have political connections but they should not be under illusion that their political masters can save them,” Kejriwal said in a virtual press briefing. 

While PTI reported Kejriwal as saying such malpractice was limited to a couple of private hospitals, many people have reported discrepancies between the number of available hospital beds listed on the Delhi government’s corona app and what hospitals themselves are reporting. 

Several people have taken to Twitter to complain that while the Delhi government app shows that hospitals have beds, they or people they know have been denied admission in these places, HuffPost India wrote last week.

While The Hindu was told last Wednesday that there were no bed at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital despite the app listing 33 available beds for COVID patients; an official from Apollo Hospital confirmed to HuffPost India that the hospital available number of beds corresponded to the app’s number on Thursday. 

In his briefing today, Kejriwal said, the government is talking to the owners of private hospitals to determine their problems in reserving 20 per cent of their beds for COVID-19 patients.

He also refuted media reports that COVID-19 testing has stopped in Delhi, saying that currently 36 government and private laboratories were doing tests for the novel coronavirus. Action was taken against six labs for irregularities, PTI reported him as saying. 

As of Saturday morning on 6 June 2020, Delhi had the third highest COVID-death toll in the country at 708 fatalities, with Gujarat second with 1,190 deaths and Maharastra the worst with 2,849 deaths.