Amid rising Covid cases in the capital, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain Monday said there is “no chance” of another lockdown as the third wave has already peaked. “The virus cannot be contained through lockdown, people should protect themselves by wearing face masks. I can tell you that the peak of the third wave is gone,” he said.
Monday saw 3,797 new cases and 99 deaths, taking the total count to 4,89,202 and fatalities to 7,713. The positivity rate was at 12.73% after authorities conducted 29,821 tests in the last 24 hours. The mortality rate was at 1.35%. The city has been witnessing a spurt in the number of daily cases since October 28, when it breached the 5,000-mark for the first time. It crossed the 8,000-mark Wednesday.
Sources said the Delhi government’s unequivocal stand is that there can be no effective lockdown anymore and the most prudent thing to do would be to augment healthcare facilities to cater to patients effectively. “The initial lockdown made sense as it gave time to governments to make preparations. At present, a lockdown makes no sense as it will push people who are struggling already into further hardship. We needed help when it came to ICU beds and the Centre has promised it,” said a senior official.
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia added, “The corona situation is coming under control as numbers are decreasing after reaching over 8,500. I don’t think there would be any situation to impose another lockdown in Delhi. Till the time there is no medicine or vaccine against Covid, we cannot predict the situation, but we are working to ensure every possible step to tackle the crisis.”
On Sunday, following a meeting by Home Minister Amit Shah, the Centre announced a slew of steps — adding more ICU beds, doubling the number of daily RT-PCR tests and carrying out house-to-house surveys — to check spiralling cases.
At present, there are 16,733 beds earmarked for Covid patients in Delhi, out of which 9,056 are occupied. While overall beds are available, occupancy of ICU beds across hospitals is running high — of 1,332 ICU ventilator beds, 1,176 are occupied. “Beds are available but there is a crunch of ICU beds at the moment… those in private hospitals are mostly occupied. Yesterday (Sunday), our CM requested the Union Home Minister to increase ICU beds and the plea has been accepted… A total of 750 more beds will be added by the Centre,” said Jain.
On the rise in positivity rate in the last few days, he said: “If we look at the data, overall deaths are not increasing, which tend to go up during winters. Comparing monthly data of the previous years, data has not changed much. Fatality rate is around 1%. As per WHO guidelines, if mortality rate stays under this rate, then it’s fine.”
Jain said during the first wave in June, weekly average positivity rate was around 37%, which went down to 13-14% in the second wave: “Positivity rate is lowest in hospitals where patients are being treated and highest where people are not following Covid-appropriate behaviour.” He also said strict action is being taken against those flouting guidelines: “Penalties worth Rs 45 crore have been imposed in the last few days on those not wearing masks.”
IVR facility for contact tracing
The state health department facilitated an IVR calling facility to identify contacts of Covid-19 positive cases. As per the order, districts are required to capture and share names and numbers of all identified contacts with the nodal officer. “The team at each district, involved in contact tracing… has to make note of verified personal mobile numbers of each contact/s identified,” said the order issued Monday.x
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