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Delhi’s daily Covid positivity rate falls below 5%

After a Covid surge that lasted around three weeks and pushed the capital’s health infrastructure to the brink, the numbers of cases have been falling of late, ostensibly because of a citywide lockdown that is now in its fifth week.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 22, 2021 7:36:30 am
COVID-19 patients undergo treatment at Guru Tegh Bahadur COVID Care Centre at the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, in New Delhi, Thursday.

With 3,009 Covid cases and 63,190 tests being conducted in the past 24 hours, Delhi’s positivity rate came down below 5% on Friday — the lowest since April 4.

After a Covid surge that lasted around three weeks and pushed the capital’s health infrastructure to the brink, the numbers of cases have been falling of late amid a citywide lockdown that is now in its fifth week.

While the positivity rate over the past 24 hours stood at 4.76%, the cumulative positivity rate — the percentage of people who test positive among those tested — is 7.6%. Delhi recorded 252 Covid deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the toll to 22,831.

As cases, positivity rate and bed occupancy peaked during the current wave over the last week of April, one in three people tested were positive for Covid.

Health Minister Satyendar Jain called the dip a hopeful sign: “We can see a prominent downward trend in Covid cases. It has dropped significantly from 28,000 cases to about 3,000, hence, this is a hopeful sign. Positivity rate is now below 5%. However, we can’t afford complacency and must follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.”

The Delhi government has stressed on quick vaccination for people as the best way to avoid another wave, but has run out of doses for the month after giving at least one dose to 50 lakh people. Delhi’s estimated population is 2 crore, which means almost a fourth of the population has received at least one dose. Out of the 2 crore people, around 50 lakh are not eligible as they are under the age of 18, and vaccines have not been approved for the age group.

Around 150 session sites for the 18-44 age group had to be shut Friday as the city ran out of doses and is not expected to get any more till June. “1 lakh vaccines are not enough. We can use them in a day. Our distribution network is massive and is capable of inoculating up to 3 lakh people a day. Vaccine supply is completely controlled by the Centre and we can inoculate based only on what we are receiving from them,” Jain said.

Meanwhile, the capital is facing a fresh crisis as cases of mucormycosis or black fungus are reported in more and more hospitals. This has prompted the Delhi government to set up three dedicated centres for its treatment in its hospitals — Lok Nayak, GTB and Rajiv Gandhi.

Jain said 197 black fungus cases have been recorded in Delhi so far, and some of them were from outside but admitted in city hospitals.

Several hospitals have reported shortage of Amphotericin B, a drug used to treat the disease.

Hospitals have to send their medicine requirement to a four-member panel set up by the government, which facilitates supply.

“The Centre is controlling black fungus medicines. They are giving medicines as per state-wise quota and have allocated 2,000 medicines for Delhi. The government will give medicines to hospitals as soon as we get them. We can only give it to hospitals, as this cannot be treated at home… Our demand is much more than what we are being given by the Centre,” Jain said.

Vaccination for 18+ to be halted temporarily

The government will have to temporarily stop vaccination for those between 18 and 44 years from Monday as it has almost run out of vaccines for this group, AAP MLA Atishi said Friday. She said in the last one week, Delhi has already shut 235 of the 368 inoculation centres for this category due to a shortage of doses. “The remaining 133 sites will (also) be shut on Saturday, which means the inoculation drive for this age group will have to be stopped temporarily from Monday,” she added. Vaccination is not carried out in Delhi on Sundays. (with PTI inputs)

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