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Next priority for Delhi: Focus on children if there’s another wave

At present, those under the age of 18 cannot be vaccinated.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 19, 2021 11:29:52 pm
Bharat Biotech got permissions to conduct Phase II and III trials on children between the ages of 2-18 last week. (Representational)

The Delhi government is setting up a task force comprising pediatricians, experts, and senior IAS officers to come up with plans and measures to safeguard children from the next wave of Covid.

At present, those under the age of 18 cannot be vaccinated. Bharat Biotech got permissions to conduct Phase II and III trials on children between the ages of 2-18 last week.

In a meeting convened by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to assess the Covid situation in the city, it was also decided to prioritise the increase in the number of beds, along with an increased oxygen allocation and preparation to get sufficient oxygen tankers.

Delhi saw 3,846 cases on Wednesday, with a positivity rate of 5.78%. The total death count stands at 22,346, with 235 deaths reported on Wednesday.

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Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, meanwhile, said that the target for Delhi is to reach a 2% positivity rate in the coming days. “At that level, the situation will be much better,” Jain said.

“It should be below 5% at least. Of course, our aim is to have no cases in Delhi at all, but a 2% target is what we are looking at at present,” Jain said when asked at what positivity rate did the government intend to lift the lockdown. He, however, clarified that the lockdown will be lifted after taking many things into account and a 2% positivity rate was a target the government was looking at as an indicator of things getting better.

After the meeting, Kejriwal tweeted: “If the third wave of Corona emerges, we have to be prepared in advance to fight it, took some important decisions today in a meeting with the officials. 1. To create a special task force to protect children from the third wave 2. Adequate beds, oxygen, and better management of essential medicines.”

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In the meeting, officials said the city should be prepared with 40,000 oxygen beds. The government is also making preparations to ready 10,000 ICU beds.

Since the third week of April, as cases increased, the hospital beds in the city started running out, with many dying outside hospitals. Over the past week, the occupancy in hospitals has started dropping, but ICU beds are still tough to come by.

A present, there are 27,992 beds for Covid patients in Delhi, of which 14,513 are vacant. There were 22,000 Covid beds at the peak of the wave.

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The number of ICU beds for Covid patients is 6,811 out of which 1,353 are vacant.

According to officials, Kejriwal said during the meeting that enough oxygen tankers need to be kept ready as a higher number of Covid beds will also require an increased oxygen allocation to hospitals.

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First published on: 19-05-2021 at 11:27:54 pm

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