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Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune: India’s Covid hotspots and how they are fighting the surge in cases

While Delhi government has hiked the fine for not wearing masks in public places to Rs 2,000, Ahmedabad has announced total curfew from Friday night till Monday morning and an indefinite night curfew Monday onwards.

By: Express Web Desk | Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Pune | Updated: November 20, 2020 12:10:26 pm
Crematorium workers at Nigambodh Ghat where bodies of deceased Covid patients are being cremated. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

Amid the festive season, some major cities across India have emerged as Covid-19 hotspots, with a steep rise in the number of active cases in past few weeks.  Huge rush at markets and public places during the festive season, the rise in pollution levels and the consecutive setting in of winter are believed to be behind the surge in cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad and Pune. While Delhi government has hiked the fine for not wearing masks in public places to a whopping Rs 2,000, Ahmedabad has announced total curfew from Friday night till Monday morning and an indefinite night curfew Monday night onwards to combat this upswing in cases.

Delhi

Current Covid situation: The national capital has been witnessing a spurt in coronavirus cases since beginning of October, with daily cases breaching the 5,000 mark for the first time on October 28. Delhi recorded 7,546 new Covid cases on Thursday, with a positivity rate of 12 per cent. The death toll touched 8,041, with 98 deaths being reported. According to the government, only 140 ICU beds with ventilators were vacant Thursday evening, while 319 ICU beds without ventilators were available. On Wednesday, the city’s tally had surpassed 5 lakh. The mortality rate based on the last 10 days has been recorded at 1.48%.

Steps taken by government: With Delhi witnessing a third wave of Covid-19, Home Minister Amit Shah stepped in for a second time to issue directions on combating the Covid situation. The Centre announced a slew of steps — adding more ICU beds, doubling the number of daily RT-PCR tests and carrying out house-to-house surveys.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Thursday that all private hospitals in the capital would have to reserve 80 per cent of their ICU beds and up to 60 per cent of normal beds for coronavirus patients, and defer non-critical surgeries. This will lead to an increase of 2,644 beds.

Kejriwal also said that the penalty for not wearing masks has been increased four-fold, from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000.  Addressing a webcast, Kejriwal said that apart from private hospitals, 663 beds will be added in Delhi government hospitals. The central government has also assured “an additional 750 beds in the Centre-run hospitals, which means that we will have around 1,413 additional ICU beds in the next few days in Delhi”, he said.

Health workers conducting Covid tests in Delhi.

The Home Ministry said that since the meeting between Shah and Delhi government officials, more than 28,708 RT-PCR tests have been conducted. The Ministry has kept a target of 60,000 RT PCR tests per day by the end of November.

India coronavirus numbers explained | After 47 days, more new cases than recoveries

“Train coaches with 800 beds at Shakur Basti railway station will become functional now with doctors and paramedics from CAPF to man them,” a Ministry statement said. It said that 75 doctors and 251 paramedics from the Central Armed Police Forces have reported for duty. Of these, 50 doctors and 175 paramedics have been deployed at Chhatarpur and Shakur Basti Railway Station. The Ministry said that 500 isolation beds at the Covid-19 care centre at Chhatarpur will be converted to beds with oxygen facility by the weekend.

Health worker assembles swab samples at Nizamuddin Railway Station, New Delhi.

Ahmedabad

Current Covid situation: Ahmedabad city has been witnessing a steady rise in coronavirus cases since the beginning of this month. From 125 to 130 daily cases a few months ago, the city is now witnessing over 200 Covid-19 single-day infections. As of Thursday morning, the city had 2,845 active cases and has been witnessing a steep surge in Covid-19 cases after Diwali. Of these, majority is from the western parts of the city. Ahmedabad reported three deaths and 230 fresh cases of coronavirus on Thursday, out of total 1,340 cases and seven deaths in the whole of Gujarat, taking its caseload to over 46,000.

Steps taken by government: Ahmedabad city will go under “complete curfew” from Friday night till Monday morning with only shops selling milk and medicines remaining open and a night curfew will be imposed indefinitely Monday night onwards. The decision to impose the night curfew from 9 pm to 6 am from Friday was taken in a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and attended by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and senior officials of the AMC on Thursday afternoon.

People stock up groceries ahead of total curfew in Ahmedabad this weekend.

It was also decided to add 1,300 more Covid beds to the existing capacity in the government and private hospitals in the city, taking the total number of beds for Covid care in the city to 8,800. Government hospitals will get an additional 900 beds, while private ones will get 400. For additional support services, the 108 ambulance vehicles too were increased from 20 to 40.

The state government also sanctioned 300 doctors and 300 medical students for Ahmedabad city on Thursday. For areas around Ahmedabad, such as Sabarmati, Chandkehda and Motera, 100 additional beds are being reserved for Covid patients at Gandhinagar Civil Hospital.

Health workers conduct Covid test in Ahmedabad.

Pune

Current Covid situation: Pune has so far reported 3.44 lakh confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, the third highest for any city, after Delhi and Bengaluru. The city has also recorded over 8,000 coronavirus-related deaths, the maximum after Mumbai and Delhi. Pune district till Wednesday afternoon has reported a total of 3.32 lakh cases, of which 9,174 were active cases.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is bracing for the second wave of coronavirus infections, and has even warned that the number of active cases may cross 19,500.

Steps taken by government: The PMC has claimed that it has adequate facilities to accommodate the rising number of patients, and anticipates that 40 per cent were likely to be in home isolation, while 60 per cent would be in institutional isolation, of which 45 per cent would be in Covid care centres and 15 per cent would need oxygen support.

Diwali season, Diwali festival, Covid crisis, crowd in markets, firecrackers sale, diwali shopping, Indian express news Huge crowd seen ahead of Diwali Festival at Tulsi Baug market in Pune. (Express file photo by Ashish Kale)

Going by its estimates of past infections and trends, the PMC expects around 8,800 patients in Covid care centres, which can accommodate 10,000 patients. Most such centres across the city are temporarily closed now due to lack of patients but the civic administration has said they would be restarted as per requirement.

The PMC also expects, during the second wave, demand for 2,934 oxygen beds, including 2,347 oxygen beds and 294 ICU beds each with ventilators and without ventilators. It has claimed to have 3,244 oxygen beds, 446 ICU beds with ventilators and 401 ICU beds without ventilators, to accommodate Covid-19 patients.

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