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Arvind Kejriwal says no plan for lockdown in Delhi, urges Centre to allow vaccination for all age groups

While admitting that the spread of the virus was a matter of "deep worry", CM Arvind Kejriwal said the current wave is "less serious" as fewer deaths and hospitalisations are being recorded.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
Updated: April 2, 2021 6:09:22 pm
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi hospital bed, Delhi COVID-19 cases, Delhi news, indian expressDelhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. (File)

Even as the Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Friday said his government has not yet taken a decision to impose a lockdown in the city. The CM also urged the Centre to open up the vaccination process for everyone instead of keeping it restricted to specific age groups.

Addressing a webcast following a high-level meeting on the pandemic situation in Delhi, Kejriwal categorically stated that the Delhi government has no plans to impose any lockdown in the city but appealed to the public to wear masks, focus on hand washing, and follow social distancing.

“If there is any need to do so in the future, we will consult the people,” he said.

While admitting that the spread of the virus was a matter of “deep worry”, Kejriwal said the current wave is “less serious” as fewer deaths and hospitalisations are being recorded.

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“This wave is, however, less serious. The number of deaths are fewer and less patients are in the hospitals and ICU as compared to the third wave when 3,000-4000 cases were coming up daily on an average. Most are recovering in home isolation,” Kejriwal said.

According to Friday’s medical bulletin, the city registered 3,583 fresh cases.

“There were 425 cases on March 16. It has risen to 3853 now. For the country, this might be the second wave, but Delhi is facing the fourth wave of 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 wave emerged in October-November. The daily caseload in the city peaked on November 10 when the virus infected 8600 individuals, while November 19 saw 131 deaths, the highest single-day toll.

For now, the government is focusing on hospital management, which involves drawing up a strategy to increase the number of hospital beds and ICUs if needed. The priorities remain testing, tracing and isolating positive cases and suspected cases, creation of containment zones, Kejriwal said.

The CM also urged the Centre to allow schools and community centres to be used as vaccination sites apart from the existing healthcare facilities.

“Yesterday, we (Delhi government) vaccinated 71,000 people as against the capacity of 96,000. The central guidelines say that 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 two to three hours. If the Centre allows, we can launch vaccination drives in community centres, schools on war footing. Rach such centre can have ambulances, first aid facilities,” the CM said.

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