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‘If we open borders, people from other states will come for free treatment,’: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to keep borders sealed for one more week

Kejriwal has asked Delhi residents to advise whether the government should open up the borders but restrict treatment only to the local residents or since Delhi is the national capital, it's medical facilities be open for all the citizens of the country.

As the country entered the Unlock-1 phase, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday took a controversial stance when he announced that the national capital’s borders will remain sealed for the next one week on the account of a possible influx of residents from neighbouring states for free treatment that would overwhelm the health care services in Delhi.

Kejriwal claimed that if the borders are opened, people from neighbouring states will flock to Delhi as the treatment for coronavirus in the national capital is free and the beds meant for the ailing Delhi residents will be occupied with 2 days.

The Aam Aadmi Party chief also added that he is seeking the opinion of people from Delhi on whether the capital should open borders or not. “I need your suggestion on this matter. Give your responses by 5 pm Friday,” he said while sharing a WhatsApp number (+91 8800007722) for people to weigh in their suggestions.

Kejriwal has asked Delhi residents to advise whether the government should open up the borders but restrict treatment only to the local residents or since Delhi is the national capital, its medical facilities be open for all the citizens of the country.

It must be noted here that other than state government run hospitals, there are many central government run hospitals in Delhi like AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohiya. The treatment at these hospitals are either free of cost or cost very negligible.

Arvind Kejriwal had claimed ‘outsiders’ come to Delhi for free treatment

This is not the first time that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has made controversial remarks for the ‘outsiders’ who gravitate to the national capital for medical treatment. Last year, the AAP chief had stoked a controversy when he proclaimed that people from outside come to Delhi for ‘free treatment’ but Delhi has ‘its own capacity’. “How can Delhi serve people of the entire country?” he said while addressing a gathering in the national capital in September 2019.

Speaking on long queues about purchasing medicines prescribed by doctors, Kejriwal said that the reason is a lot of people are coming from outside of Delhi for treatment. “We carried out a survey. About 80% of patients in Delhi hospitals are outsiders. There are enough hospitals in Delhi which can cater to residents of Delhi. A Delhi resident can get treatment within 30 minutes of entering a hospital. But the queues are because of people living outside of Delhi who come here for treatment. A person from Bihar can take a ticket for Rs 500 and come to Delhi and get free treatment worth Rs 5 lakh and go back. We are happy because they are our country people only and they should get treatment. But Delhi has its own capacity. How can Delhi give treatment to patients of the entire country? The situation in the rest of the country should improve,” he said.

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