New Delhi: Delhi remained in the grip of panic over dengue as two minor girls died of it taking the toll to 16 on a day the number of people down with the mosquito-borne fever crossed 2,000 as hospitals across the city continued to reel under acute pressure.
The Delhi government, which has been accused of not effectively dealing with the situation, said it was mulling bringing an ordinance to punish private hospitals refusing to provide treatment to patients in emergency situations.
Three-year-old Neha Mathur, a resident of Sangam Vihar, died yesterday at the Saket City hospital and her distraught parents alleged that one government hospital and a private nursing home in South Delhi did not provide proper treatment for dengue to her.
A 9-year-old girl from Okhla died of dengue at the RML hospital on Tuesday, doctors at the hospital said today. With the death of the two children, the toll has gone up to 16.
As hospitals continued to be flooded with dengue patients, municipal officials said the total number of cases crossed the 2,000-mark this year out of which around 1200 were reported in the past two weeks.
The city government also set up a 200-bedded facility at an upcoming hospital as an temporary arrangement to treat dengue patient in North West Delhi.
It said data collected from 34 hospitals run by it, central government and MCD, showed that out of 2519 people admitted with fever in the past 24 hours, only 281 were found to have dengue.
The government also issued notices to commissioners of all three BJP-ruled municipal corporations directing them to mandatorily apprise it on a daily basis about the steps being taken to prevent the spread of dengue.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain held back-to-back meetings with mayors and commissioners of the civic bodies and directed them to do everything possible to curb the menace.
The government warned the three MCD commissioners of strict action in case of non-compliance of the order.
The Home Ministry also reviewed the situation and directed the city government to take all possible steps to ameliorate people's sufferings.
On the ordinance, officials said it may have provisions for cancellation of registration of hospitals violating government's directive.
Yesterday, Jain had directed private hospitals to increase their bed capacity by 10-20 per cent as soon as possible to treat dengue patients. He had also ordered Delhi government- run hospitals to increase beds by 1,000 by Sunday.
As dengue cases continued to surge, the Aam Aadmi Party said it will set up "fever clinics" across Delhi to offer free treatment to the patients. The ruling party accused the BJP- ruled civic bodies of "total failure" in containing spread of the vector-borne disease.
A blame game erupted between the Delhi government and the BJP-run municipal corporations on dealing with the dengue situation.
Addressing a news conference, AAP Delhi unit party secretary Dilip Pandey claimed that health inspectors of municipal corporations, who are supposed to check spread of dengue-causing mosquito, were not doing their job properly.
On their part, the civic bodies accused the AAP government of not releasing adequate funds to tackle dengue menace.
Pandey said the party has approached doctors and these medicos will provide "free treatment" to dengue patients across Delhi.
"As of now, we are opening 30 clinics and the number is likely to go up to 60-70 clinics," he said, adding around 1,200 party volunteers will be deployed from Saturday to make people aware about dengue and the steps needed to be taken to prevent it.
The Congress held a demonstration outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence protesting "inaction" of the city government to contain dengue outbreak.
Currently, the total bed capacity of city hospitals is around 50,000 which include 10,000 beds in Delhi government- run hospitals and 20,000 in private hospitals. The hospitals run by municipal corporations and Centre have a capacity of 10,000 beds each.
The government has already cancelled leave of all doctors, and paramedics working in hospitals run by it.