Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday said the city’s Covid-19 growth has slowed down, remaining well below previous projections, due to his government’s the policy of home isolation, and the decision to work in tandem with the Centre, NGOs, and spiritual organisations.
The CM, however, cautioned there was no room for complacency, as the virus’ growth curve could start rising any time. He made the remarks while addressing a webcast on the city’s corona situation, which he said was “under control”.
Kejriwal said at point one in June, over 100 people were being felled by the virus daily, but the numbers have come down to an average of 30 to 35 now. He attributed the high rate of death earlier to delay in testing, shortage of ambulances, and lengthy formalities before admissions in hospitals.
“We were expecting 2.5 lakh cases by July 15, as per the Centre’s formula based on the previous trend of Covid growth. There were supposed to be 1.34 lakh active cases, for which 34,000 beds were required. But due to the close coordination between the local administration and the Centre, we have about 18,600 active cases currently. And only 4,000 hospital beds are occupied out of 15,000. The situation is under control but we can’t afford to be complacent as cases may go up any time,” Kejriwal said.
Last month, immediately after the Centre had scrapped its plan to reserve beds for Delhi residents, the state government had projected that the case count in Delhi is projected to reach 1 lakh by the end of June, 2.5 lakh by July 15, and 5.32 lakh by July 31.
It had also said that the city will require at least 15,000 beds by June 30, 33,000 by July 15, and 80,000 by July 31. Initially, the government had said that the projections were based on its own health department’s data, but it later said the figures were arrived at based on the Union government’s formula.
“We realised many were not getting tested on time. Not enough ambulances were available. Now, there are enough ambulances and no distress calls are rejected. The lengthy procedural formalities before hospital admissions were also claiming lives. Now we have created holding areas in every hospital where patients are administered oxygen even as formalities take place. We had 4,100 beds on June 1 and have 15,000 beds now. There were 300 ICUs on June 1, which have gone up to 2,100 now, out of which 1,000 are occupied. We are also banking on plasma therapy till the vaccine arrives,” he said.
The Delhi government has created two plasma banks – along the lines of blood banks – in its two hospitals, ILBS and LNJP. Kejriwal also claimed that the LNJP Hospital, which is the biggest Covid facility in Delhi with 2,000 beds, has made a remarkable turnaround.
“When things were going wrong, everyone was pointing out faults. We did not get perturbed and tried to address the shortcomings. Today LNJP is being praised…We are in a better position than June, but that does not mean we have won the war,” he said.
Kejriwal said the ‘Delhi model’, which has been “praised by the Prime Minister as well”, is rooted in the principles of collective approach and team work. “The Centre helped us in starting rapid antigen tests, increasing testing capacity. Home isolation is another pillar on which the Delhi model stands. Even today, many states are not testing as much because home isolation facility is not available,” he said.
On an average, Delhi has been carrying out over 20,000 tests. The rise in testing has been fuelled by rapid antigen tests, while the number of RT-PCR tests, which is considered the gold standard in testing, has come down considerably.
The national capital conducted roughly 2 lakh RT-PCR and 3 lakh rapid antigen tests for Covid in the past month — with the former throwing up a positivity rate of 30.5%, and the latter considerably lower at 6.5% — The Indian Express has reported.
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