Indian hospitals warned not to turn away dengue patients
Government officials have threatened to cancel the licences of private hospitals in India's capital if they turn away patients suffering from dengue fever.
New Delhi has been hit by an outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease, with more than 11 deaths. About 1,900 cases have been recorded in the city's hospitals.
The families of two boys have said they died after being denied treatment at a number of hospitals.
"No patient arriving at a hospital with dengue should be turned away," Health Minister Satyendra Jain told reporters.
He said he has ordered private hospitals in the capital to hire more doctors and increase the number of beds available for dengue patients.
Hospitals have reported a shortage of beds and staff as they try to cope with the throngs of patients.
"It is not an epidemic. But people are panicking," Mr Jain said.
Mr Jain and New Delhi's top elected official, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, have made "surprise" visits of government and private hospitals to check on their preparedness to deal with the outbreak.
Supervisors have cancelled holidays for doctors and ordered them back to work as patients crowded New Delhi's state-run hospitals.
Teams of workers have fanned out across the city to spray insecticides on stagnant water collecting in puddles after recent monsoon rains.
Dengue is often seen as an urban disease with mosquitoes breeding in stagnant water. Outbreaks are reported every year after the monsoon season that runs from June to September.
However, this year's outbreak has been described as the worst in five years.