The high court made the observation on Wednesday after being informed by a private hospitals’ association that out of 5,081 ICU beds reserved for Covid-19 patients, 2,360 were vacant as on Tuesday. The hospitals’ association had challenged the government’s September 12 order.
Justice Navin Chawla asked Delhi government to consider the submissions by petitioner “Association of Healthcare Providers” and file its response before the next date on December 15.
During the hearing, Delhi government additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose urged the court to take up the matter after 10 days as the Covid-19 situation was improving in the national capital and the government would review the situation after 10 days.
The state government’s additional counsel said a review would be done if there was a need to continue with the September 12 order by which 33 private hospitals were directed to reserve 80% ICU beds for Covid-19 patients in Delhi, adding that they were only going by precautionary measures.
After going through the data, the high court said: “See the figures. If 50 per cent beds are lying vacant, the decision to reserve 80% beds needs immediate review and not a review after 10 days.”
But senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing the Association of Healthcare Providers, said the state government was indulging in delaying tactics. Out of a total of 1,527 Covid-19 ICU beds with ventilators and 3,554 Covid-19 beds without ventilators in city hospitals, 508 and 1,852 beds respectively were lying vacant as on December 8, he added.
Singh further submitted that as of now, the vacancy figure was 534 Covid-19 ICU beds with ventilators and 1,908 Covid-19 beds without ventilators. Singh said in case of non-Covid-19 ICU beds, out of 1,420, 314 beds were lying vacant and added that therefore, there was no justification of continuation of the earlier order.