Updated: May 15, 2021 8:00:43 am
With the lockdown in place for close to four weeks, Covid cases in Delhi have finally started to dip, with 8,506 cases being recorded on Friday. This is the first time since April 10 that cases dropped below 10,000 in the city.
A total of 68,575 people were tested and 12.40% of them were found to be positive — which is the lowest positivity rate in a month. Over 50,000 of these were RT-PCR tests.
Over 14,000 people were reported recovered on Friday.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said this was “good news” and was possible because of the cooperation from people, but cautioned against any laxity. “If we become careless again and stop following social distancing norms and guidelines, cases can increase again. We are making arrangements for more oxygen beds, are buying oxygen cylinders and are setting up new ICU beds. If cases increase again, we should be prepared. But please continue to observe Covid-appropriate behaviour. We have seen very tough times in the past month,” he said.
Delhi was among the worst-hit in the country in April, seeing the highest daily cases and deaths of all cities. On April 20, it saw over 28,000 Covid cases, while daily death toll crossed 450 at one point.
A definite downward trend in cases started a week ago, when the positivity rate started declining. While the number of tests done on Thursday (reported on Friday) were lower than the average 75,000 tests being done daily, the positivity rate also remained low.
“The dip in the positivity rate, and hence the number of cases, seems to suggest that Delhi is past its peak. The high in Delhi started close to a month after it was seen in Mumbai, and now the decline is following a similar pattern. The next two weeks are crucial but looking at the data now, it certainly seems that the worst is behind us, for now,” said an epidemiologist at a Central government hospital who did not want to be named.
The Capital has seen 13.8 lakh cases and 20,907 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Over 9,800 of these deaths have been since April 1.
While the oxygen shortage has been resolved for now — the Delhi government wrote to the Centre Thursday asking that it not be given more than 590 metric tonnes of oxygen a day and that the extra supplies be diverted to states that need it more — the crisis of beds is not over yet. While there are over 6,000 vacant oxygen beds in different hospitals, the number of vacant ICU beds is 277. A large majority of these are in government hospitals as private hospitals are still running full.
Kejriwal also spoke about the lesser number of free ICU beds in a webcast on Friday. “Around 3,000 hospital beds have been vacated in the past few days. But a majority of ICU beds are still occupied. This means that the number of patients who are critical is still high. We are readying 1,200 new ICU beds and they will be operational in a day or two,” he said.
According to government officials, 500 ICU beds in the Ramlila Maidan outside GTB Hospital in East Delhi and 250 ICU beds at the Ramlila Maidan near Lok Nayak Hospital in Central Delhi will start taking in patients soon. Kejriwal and Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain visited the facility in Central Delhi on Friday and said patients will be admitted in one or two days.
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