May 24, 2021 1:59:09 am
The lockdown in Delhi has been extended for another week and will now be in force till 5 am on May 31, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Sunday. The lockdown was first announced in the city for a week on April 19 and has been extended weekly since.
The CM said if daily Covid cases keep falling as they are now, a slow unlock will start from next week. “Every Sunday, we sit down and decide whether the lockdown should be extended. The April-May wave was very dangerous and Delhi was the first to impose a lockdown… We have been asking people about this and most feel the lockdown should be extended for another week so that we do not lose the gains. Daily cases are still above 1,000. So we are extending it till May 31, 5 am. If cases keep decreasing like they are right now, we will start the process of unlocking next week. We will not open everything all at once. Unlocking will be gradual,” he said.
In the past 24 hours, the city saw 1,649 cases and the positivity rate fell to around 2.42%. On Saturday, 2,260 cases were reported and the positivity rate was 3.58%.
Sunday also marked the lowest dip in daily cases in almost two months. While the number of daily cases is lowest since March 31 when 992 cases were reported in a day, the positivity rate is lowest since March 28.
Dip in positivity rate a relief
Over the past week, cases have come down rapidly as Delhi entered its fifth week in the lockdown. The dip in cases has been gradual, but consistent. The positivity rate declined steadily after May 7, which is when hospitals and doctors started to breathe easier.
“For us, the biggest relief so far has been the dip in positivity rate. Absolute numbers vary on the basis of people tested in a day and on a few occasions this number was low because of festivals and other holidays. The real test is the positivity rate, which tells you how fast the disease is spreading. Experts say this number should be below 5% for the disease to be considered under control but our target is to get it below 2% in the next few days,” said a senior Delhi government official on condition of anonymity.
At the peak of the ongoing Covid wave, the capital saw a positivity rate of 36.24% on April 22 and daily cases at over 28,000 on a single day on April 20.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal also lauded healthcare workers, who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.
“Doctors and nurses didn’t sleep for days, they have worked day in and day out to serve patients. Many have succumbed to Covid themselves. We are indebted to them and cannot repay them. The Delhi government gives Rs 1 crore to their families. I have been meeting families that have lost frontline workers,” he said.
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