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Delhi govt likely to extend weekend curfew amid Covid surge

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New Delhi, Apr 18: The Delhi government is mulling to extend the weekend lockdown to weekdays as the national capital has been reporting a record surge in daily coronavirus cases. A final decision in this regard will be taken at a high-level meeting between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal scheduled to take place on Monday at 11 am.

Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi on Sunday reported 25,462 COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day spike in the national capital till date, according to data shared by the Health Department. The city also reported 161 deaths, while the positivity rate shot up to 29.74 per cent, also the highest so far.

Terming the COVID-19 situation in the national capital as "very serious", Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday seeking help for beds and oxygen for coronavirus patients.

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Kejriwal also requested the prime minister for reserving at least 7000 central government hospital beds out of the 10000 in Delhi for COVID patients, and immediate supply of oxygen.

"The COVID situation has become very serious in Delhi. There is huge shortage of beds and oxygen. I request that at least 7000 out of 10,000 beds in Central government hospitals in Delhi be reserved for COVID patients and oxygen be immediately provided in Delhi," he wrote.

"We are making all efforts at our level. Your help is needed," he added.

He thanked the prime minister for the 500 ICU beds being readied in Delhi by the DRDO and urged him to raise the number of these beds to 1000.

The chief minister said that less than 100 ICU beds are available in the national capital where over 25,500 new cases have been reported.

Pointing out that the positivity rate has gone up from 24 per cent to 30 per cent in just 24 hours, he said due to fast pace in increase of COVID-19 infections, hospital beds and oxygen for patients are rapidly depleting in the city.

Last week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced Delhi would remain shut this weekend to "break the chain of transmission". Auditoriums, restaurants, malls, gyms and spas would be shut down and movie theatres would be allowed with a third of their capacity on weekdays.

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