Delhi reports over 15k fresh cases; will there will be a lockdown in national capital again?
New Delhi, Jan 6: Delhi Health Minister Sayendar Jain on Thursday said the COVID-19 situation in the city does not warrant a lockdown yet, even as the national capital added over 15,000 new cases and the positivity rate mounted to 15.34 per cent. He, however, said the city has not reported any death due to the Omicron variant so far.
Delhi has logged 29 deaths due to the disease since it reported the first case of the new variant on December 5. Jain asserted Delhi is in a comfortable position in terms of hospital bed occupancy. He said the number of cases in Delhi is high as a large number of people are being tested for the infection. "We have been conducting a large number of tests. If we do not do that, the new cases can reduce to 500-1,000. A lot of people (states) do not conduct tests and say they do not have cases. We have been transparent... We are conducting the maximum number of tests in the country," he said.
Authorities conducted around 90,000 tests on Tuesday and around 98,000 tests on Wednesday in the city, according to government data. A few healthcare workers in Delhi have tested positive for COVID-19, but the number is not alarming, the minister said in response to a question. Asked if the AAP government was considering a lockdown in the city, Jain said Delhi has already taken stringent actions, including imposing night curfew and weekend curfew, which are sufficient for the time being. There is no need for a lockdown right now, he said.
The minister reiterated that hospital bed occupancy and severity of infections is very less this time. "Not a single Omicron-infected patient has so far required oxygen," he said. Jain said the government has been making preparations keeping the worst-case scenario in mind. The number of beds has been increased from over 9,000 a few days ago to over 12,000. He said the discrepancy in the data on hospital bed occupancy on the Delhi Corona app and the health bulletin is because "most beds in hospitals have been converted into oxygenated beds".
"If there are patients on such beds, it does not mean they require oxygen. Similarly, if a patient is on a ventilator bed, it does not mean they require ventilator support," he added. The minister said one should not speculate when the infections will peak or how many cases will be recorded after a week. "It is better that people follow Covid-appropriate behaviour," he said. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said last month that his government had made preparations to handle 1 lakh Covid patients and conduct 3 lakh tests daily and ensure availability of enough manpower, medicines and medical oxygen. Up to 37,000 oxygen beds will be made available in hospitals, he had said.
On Thursday, Delhi reported 15,097 fresh Covid cases, the highest single-day rise since May 8, and six deaths, while the positivity rate mounted to 15.34 per cent. This rise is the highest since May 8, 2021 when 17,364 cases were reported with a positivity rate of 23.34 per cent. As many as 332 deaths were also recorded on that day. On Wednesday and Tuesday, 10,665 and 5,481 cases were recorded with a positivity rate of 11.88 per cent and 8.37 per cent, respectively, according to official figures. PTI