Alarming doubling rate, confirmation percentage “way above” the national average and high fatality rate — three districts in the national capital have come under the lens of the Union government for a set of worrying factors, as per official documents.
The Indian Express has learnt that Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev sought a report on the “underperformance” of these three districts — Central, Southeast and North — after the Union Health Ministry raised the matter in a meeting chaired by the Union Cabinet Secretary on May 3.
There are 11 districts in Delhi.
The issue was brought up during a presentation made by the ministry, in which a “snapshot” of 20 most affected districts in the country was shared. Among these 20 districts, these three from Delhi were also “highlighted with worrisome details”, according to a communication signed by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Satya Gopal. “In fact, Central and North Delhi were specially highlighted as two among 8 districts with doubling rate faster than 10 days for the past two weeks,” Gopal wrote, sharing details of the presentation.
The report states that confirmation percentage — percentage of tests that come back positive for coronavirus — is 9% in Southeast Delhi, “which was way above the national average of 4.9%”.
Till May 1, Southeast Delhi had registered 1,571 cases, the highest in the capital, when the total number of confirmed cases was 3,439. At 18, the district also has the highest number of containment zones in Delhi, which currently stands at 88.
The confirmation percentage in Central Delhi and North Delhi were also 9%. Till May 1, the Central district, which has seven containment zones, had 477 cases, while North, having eight containment zones, had recorded 276 cases.
Cumulative fatality rate
Central Delhi’s cumulative fatality rate, defined as the proportion of people who die from a disease over a period of time among all those diagnosed with it, was at 5%, as highlighted in the report, above the national average of 3.2%.
The containment zones in Central district include densely populated areas of Old Delhi such as Chandni Mahal, Nabi Karim and Sadar, which also account for the largest share in the number of cases among all containment zones in the city.
It was also conveyed to the Delhi government that the doubling rate in the Central district is 9.5 days, less than the national average of 12.2 days. In North Delhi, the doubling rate was five days, as per the report shared on May 3.
“As such, as desired by the Chief Secretary, it is requested that a report after detailed analysis and examination for the above underperformance of these districts should be submitted along with corrective actions and interventions…,” the additional chief secretary (Home) wrote.
When contacted, an official in the North district said the doubling rate has come down between May 2 and 6. He said that during this period, the number of cases in the district rose from 322 to 378, which is an increase of around 14% over four days.
“Three areas of the district were behind the spike. Jahangirpuri C block, where 32 cases were registered, H block, where 44 cases had come up, and Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital, where around 75 cases were recorded. Since then, the doubling rate has gotten better. For example, in C Block, only 7 cases have come up in 15 days.
“Also, confirmation percentage is high as we are screening a lot of people in containment zones, and in those areas people live in close contact with each other. These are limitations authorities have no control over. In certain areas of Jahangirpuri, up to 10 workers live in single rooms. One set of workers sleep during the day, another during the night,” another official said.
Authorities in Central and Southeast districts did not respond to requests for a comment. Till May 5, Delhi had registered 5,104 coronavirus cases, out of which 3,572 are active. As many as 1,468 people have recovered and 64 have died.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines