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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

On Centre’s plan to stem Covid surge in Delhi: Testing in markets, salons

The city reported over 5,000 cases daily for five days in a row. Monday saw 4,001 cases, with 36,665 tests being conducted — a daily positivity rate of 10.91%.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | November 3, 2020 2:16:00 am
Delhi coronavirus, delhi news, delhi airport, delhi international departure, Delhi airport covid testing, IGIA covid testingCovid-19 testing at a school in Saket, New Delhi. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Targeted RT-PCR testing in restaurants, market places and barber shops; ensuring availability of enough beds and ventilators; aggressive contact tracing of those quarantined — these measures are part of the Centre’s elaborate plan to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the capital in the coming days, as it acknowledged that the recent spurt in cases was due to ongoing festivities.

The city reported over 5,000 cases daily for five days in a row. Monday saw 4,001 cases, with 36,665 tests being conducted — a daily positivity rate of 10.91%.

In the wake of the challenge posed by upcoming festivities and already rising numbers of Covid cases in Delhi, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla Monday held a high-level meeting with senior bureaucrats of the Ministry of Health, Delhi government and NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul.

“The strategy to contain spread of Covid-19 in Delhi, especially keeping in view the festival season and decreasing temperatures accompanied by rising pollution, was discussed at length with representatives of MoHFW and health experts present in the meeting,” an MHA statement said.

According to the MHA, it was decided during the meeting to concentrate efforts in certain key areas, such as “targeted RT-PCR testing in sensitive and critical zones such as restaurants, market places, barber shops / salons, etc; gear up availability of medical resources including beds, ICUs, and ventilators as a pre-emptive measure; ensure high degree of contact tracing and monitoring of quarantined contacts, so as to suppress and break the chain of transmission”.

It was also decided to enhance enforcement selectively, accompanied by greater awareness creation through targeted IEC (Information, Education and Communication) campaigns, the MHA said.

The Delhi government assured during the meeting that there were enough beds, with 57% of them still vacant.

It was decided at the meeting that the administration must ensure all cases under home isolation were monitored and shifted to hospitals well in time before any deterioration in their medical condition. It was also emphasised that Metro travel should be carefully regulated, strictly in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued in this regard.

“GNCTD made a presentation on the present situation of Covid-19 in Delhi, which is witnessing third surge in cases. While the new Covid cases and total active cases are going up, the administration is focusing on testing, contact tracing and treatment. The recent surge in number of active cases was attributed to the festival season, which has witnessed greater movement of people, accompanied by laxity in adhering to the basic principles of safe Covid behaviour,” the MHA statement said.

Concluding the meeting, the Home Secretary, while appreciating the efforts of GNCTD officials, emphasised that strategies for containment of spread of the virus in Delhi should be strictly enforced and implemented, the MHA said.

“He stressed the need for reaching out to residents of Delhi to sensitise them about safe Covid behaviour through RWAs, mohalla and market committees, public announcement systems, message on police vehicles, etc. He also informed that the situation in Delhi would be reviewed again in the coming week, along with other districts of the National Capital Region (NCR),” the MHA statement said.

The meeting was attended Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Director General, ICMR, Chief Secretary and other senior officers of the government of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) and Delhi Commissioner of Police.

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