Delhi tests to climb to 18,000 as Amit Shah holds all-party meet

Union home minister Amit Shah on Monday urged all parties in Delhi to work together to stop the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) from stalking the city, and discussed plans to ramp up testing to 18,000 by June 20, even as chief minister Arvind Kejriwal denied there were plans to reimpose a complete lockdown .

Shah chaired an all-party meet to discuss augmenting the Capital’s health care infrastructure, a day after the senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader held separate meetings with Kejriwal and lieutenant governor Anil Baijal to chalk out a road map to tackle the pandemic.

Leaders of the BJP, which is in power at the Centre, and Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) resolved to bury political differences in the battle against the outbreak, with Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta and the AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh saying the number of daily tests will be increased to 18,000 by the end of the week.

Fewer samples have been tested for Covid-19 in Delhi over the past few days, with the number falling from an average of about 7,000 samples at the end of May to about 5,000 samples last week. Baijal recently issued an order that struck down the Delhi government’s decision to keep high-risk asymptomatic people out of the scope of testing in Delhi.

Another order by the Delhi L-G last week overturned Kejriwal’s announcement to reserve beds in private and state government hospitals for local residents, a move that was seen as a potential flashpoint between the Centre and the Delhi government.

“Political differences must be forgotten and all parties must work together for the people of Delhi. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we should all work together to fight this pandemic,” Shah said after Monday’s meeting.

“Political unity will create confidence among the public and lead to improvement in the pandemic situation in the Capital. We have to improve Covid-19 testing capacity with newer techniques,” he added. Shah also asked the parties to mobilise their cadres and assist in implementing the decisions taken by the Centre and Delhi government.

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