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Friday, September 18, 2020

Spike in cases in Delhi due to increase in testing, situation under control, says Kejriwal

On Saturday, 38,895 tests were conducted in Delhi, of which 29,333 were rapid tests and 9,562 were RT-PCR.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi | Updated: September 6, 2020 9:22:09 am
Street vendors can resume work: Delhi governmentDelhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The Delhi government is procuring 5 lakh rapid antigen tests on an emergency basis to detect and isolate Covid patients in the city, where cases have again spiked — something Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday attributed to increased testing. In a webcast, Kejriwal sought to reassure Delhiites that the situation was “under control” and that authorities have started undertaking tests at public places such as markets, bus stands and mohalla clinics.

On Saturday, 38,895 tests were conducted in Delhi, of which 29,333 were rapid tests and 9,562 were RT-PCR. The government plans to scale up rapid tests even more, as indicated by a notice of the Directorate General of Health Services which invited quotations from vendors for supplying 5 lakh rapid antigen test kits “for Covid-19 on emergency basis”.

“I have spoken to many experts in the last few days, some say it is a second wave and some have opined against a second wave. But if we keep all these technical things aside, I have inspected the situation, the preparations, and all the data related to corona in the last few days. All I want to say is that there is no need to worry. The situation is under control,” Kejriwal said.

The CM pointed out that the death rate in the city was below the national average. He said data since August 15 shows that one in 100 corona patients have died in the city’s hospitals. On Saturday, the case count of 2,973 translated into a positivity rate of 7.64%. Towards the end of June, when daily case count used to be somewhat similar, the positivity rate was quite high as number of tests were far less. For example, on June 27, when 2,948 cases had come up, positivity rate was 15.37%. The CM said between August 15 and September 4, Delhi recorded a fatality rate of 1.4%, lower than the national average of 1.7%. In June, there were days when over 100 people had succumbed to the disease.

He said the rise in cases was due to increased testing, from around 20,000 per day to nearly 40,000 daily: “If we do more tests we will be able to identify more and more people infected by corona and isolate them.”

The CM also claimed there were attempts to stall the plan to increase testing: “We have doubled testing in Delhi, and there was opposition to that as well. We have tried to convince and explain things to all those who were opposing; all of them have joined hands with us, there is no opposition anymore.”

The CM also sought to reassure Delhiites that there was no shortage of beds in hospitals, suggesting that bed occupancy has increased due to people from other states getting admitted in the capital’s healthcare facilities. “There are not more than 3,000-3,300 residents of Delhi in the hospitals,” he said, adding that 1,600-1,700 beds are taken up by patients from other states. As per the Delhi government’s portal on availability of beds, out of 14,163 beds across hospitals in the city, 4,985 are currently occupied. “We will increase the number of beds if needed. There is no shortage whatsoever,” he said.

“I have been witnessing since the last few days that some people in Delhi are being complacent. They do not wear masks when getting out of their homes or follow social distancing in public places. This is not right,” he said, appealing to people not to avoid getting tested if required.

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