Coronavirus | Gurugram fighting uphill battle against deadly virus

Gurugram recorded its first COVID-19 case on March 16, and saw its 1,000th case over 78 days later on June 2. Just six days after that, the city breached the 2,000-mark; and five days later, on June 13, the total number of cases had crossed 3,000.

With 2,779 new cases and 42 deaths between June 1 and June 16, almost 75% of all cases and 91% of deaths in Gurugram have been reported in the past two weeks alone. The city accounts for nearly half (3,682) of all virus cases (7,832) reported in Haryana so far. There are 1,722 active cases in Gurugram.

Earlier this month, Chief Minister Manohar Lal had downplayed the sudden spike in cases, attributing it to delay in reporting by private labs. Deputy Commissioner Amit Khatri later said the spike in cases was due to easing of restrictions and Gurugram’s proximity to Delhi, a hotspot for cases.

But the surge in cases has revealed the district administration’s seemingly lackadaisical approach against the deadly virus.

Late start

The city did not even have its own COVID-19 testing lab till a couple of days ago; only four ambulances to cater to the large population; and no hearse van. Officials privy to the administration’s efforts said poor contact tracing and failure to implement restrictions in containment zones were two major factors that contributed immensely to the spread of the virus. The Haryana government kept its border with Delhi sealed for over a month, but it seems to have done little to stop cases. The gravity of the situation, however, seems to have dawned upon the authorities over the past few days with the former Chief Medical Officer being shunted out and replaced with Virender Yadav, who was earlier able to control the outbreak in Nuh.

Swinging into action, the administration has directed all private hospitals to reserve 25% beds for COVID-19 patients. For better coordination, Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority CEO Sonal Goel has been appointed the nodal officer for private hospitals, and real-time data on bed availability in the city’s hospitals is now available online.

Several measures taken

Mr. Lal also took stock of the situation with senior officials in a meeting on Monday and directed them to conduct a survey of vacant buildings that can be converted into isolation centres.

He also asked officials to encourage Residents’ Welfare Associations to set up their own isolation centres to augment the number of beds.

As many as 4,314 beds, 625 ICU beds and 329 ventilators are available. Of these, 79 ICU beds and 17 ventilators are occupied. The administration is in the process of increasing capacity and has advised asymptomatic patients to self-isolate at home. The facility of telemedicine has also been started for them. Many hotels are also offering paid isolation facilities.

Mr. Yadav said they will soon bolster sample collection from 600 to 1,000 per day in order to trace the infected; and two labs will be set up in the district hospital to reduce testing time.

He added that the administration was considering setting up special camps in all four MCG zones to facilitate testing.

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