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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Delhi: Cases rise, experts point to laxity among people, say govt should hasten vaccination

The total number of infections in the city have reached 6,42,870 while the death toll was pushed to 10,936 with two more deaths reported during the day.

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi |
Updated: March 13, 2021 1:38:27 am
A senior citizens at Maulana Azad Medical College Covid-19 vaccine during the second phase of a countrywide inoculation drive in New Delhi. (Express photo By Amit Mehra)

The daily number of Covid cases continued to rise in Delhi, with 431 fresh cases recorded Friday, making it the highest single-day spike in nearly two months. On Thursday, 409 cases were recorded.

The total number of infections in the city have reached 6,42,870 while the death toll was pushed to 10,936 with two more deaths reported during the day. The daily positivity rate has been recorded at 0.60% after a total of 72,031 tests were conducted across the capital.

Citing ease of movement across borders and laxity among people, experts said the government should reinforce the technique of testing, tracking and treating, which has been the formula for tackling the disease during the last few months.

Prof Lalit Kant, former head of the department of epidemiology at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said “There are multiple reasons for the sudden spike in daily cases of the infection. The most important factor is the complacency that has set in among the general population. With the vaccination drive going on, people have completely given up on wearing a mask and we can see no one following social distancing behaviour, even in small gatherings. While it is important for people to follow guidelines, it is equally crucial for the government to reiterate the stringent measures to ensure there is no laxity.”

On Thursday, NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul spoke about the sudden spike in cases in Delhi and NCR and cautioned authorities in the area not to let their guard down. He said that Delhi, along with Gurgaon, Faridabad and to an extent Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad, is seeing a rise in positivity rate. A total of 2,688 new cases have been recorded during the week in the city.

The number of active cases in the city rose to 2,093 from 2,020 on Thursday, while the positivity rate rose to 0.60 from 0.59 per cent the previous day. The number of people under home isolation on Friday rose to 1,097 from 1,028 on Thursday. The recent serological surveillance conducted by the Delhi government in January suggested that over 56% of those who were surveyed had developed antibodies against the virus.

“But this doesn’t mean that we should forget about the remaining population. The remaining population in the city is susceptible to getting the infection,” added Prof Kant.

Experts also suggested that authorities accelerate the Covid vaccination drive. “We have seen this globally that once we start vaccinating more people, the fresh number of cases begin to come down. The government should expand the vaccination programme so that more people can be inoculated. If there is any hesitancy among the people, the drive should be opened for all at the earliest,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, head of community medicine at Safdarjung hospital.

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