April 3, 2021 12:36:57 am
The national capital is in the grip of the “fourth wave” of the Covid-19 pandemic due to an “exponential” rise in cases, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Friday, appealing to the Centre to allow schools and community centres to be used as vaccination sites apart from the existing healthcare facilities.
During a webcast following a high-level meeting on the Covid situation, Kejriwal said the spread of the virus was a matter of deep worry but the current wave is “less serious” as fewer deaths and hospitalisations are being recorded.
According to Friday’s medical bulletin, the city registered 3,594 fresh cases. The CM also affirmed that the government does not plan to enforce any lockdown in Delhi in the immediate future. “If there is any need to do so in the future, we will consult the people,” he said.
However, he appealed to the public to wear masks, focus on hand washing, and follow social distancing. “There were 425 cases on March 16. It has risen to 3,594 now. For the country, this might be the second wave, but Delhi is facing the fourth wave of the infections. And cases are rising exponentially this time. This is a matter of worry. But there is no reason to be scared. The government is taking all necessary steps,” Kejriwal said.
Delhi witnessed the first wave of the pandemic in June, 2020. The second wave occurred in August-September and the third in October-November. The daily caseload in the city peaked on November 10 when the virus infected 8,600 individuals, while November 19 saw 131 deaths, the highest single-day toll.
“This wave is, however, less serious. The number of deaths are fewer and less patients are in the hospitals and ICUs as compared to the third wave when 3,000-4,000 cases were coming up daily on an average. Most are recovering in home isolation,” Kejriwal said.
For now, the government is focusing on hospital management, which involves drawing up a strategy to increase beds and ICUs if needed. The priorities remain testing, tracing and isolating positive cases and suspected cases, and creation of containment zones, Kejriwal said.
The CM made a strong pitch for scaling up the ongoing vaccination drive. He appealed to the Centre to open up the process for everyone, instead of keeping it restricted to specific age groups. “Yesterday, we (Delhi government) vaccinated 71,000 people against the capacity of 96,000. The Central guidelines say vaccination sites should be housed in premises of healthcare facilities. That made sense when vaccination had just started and there were concerns related to potential adverse events. However, it has been nearly three months now. For example, against 71,000 vaccinations yesterday, there were four minor cases of adverse events. All four persons recovered within 2-3 hours. If the Centre allows, we can launch vaccination drives in community centres, schools on war footing. Each such centre can have ambulances, first-aid facilities,” the CM said.
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