Delhi has been reporting over 5,000 coronavirus cases everyday for the last seven days. This has prompted the Home Ministry to review the situation in the national capital. In a meeting chaired by Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, they discussed strategy for the city that is likely seeing a third surge in COVID-19 cases.
Officials who participated in the meeting attributed the surge in COVID-19 cases in Delhi to festivals, more movement of people and laxity in adhering to safe behaviour. They said the Home Ministry is putting efforts for more testing, contact-tracing and treatment, especially in critical zones.
The Home Ministry said people using Delhi Metro should strictly follow coronavirus safety guidelines.
“The recent surge in the number of active cases was attributed to the festival season, which has witnessed greater movement of people, accompanied by laxity in adhering to the basic principles of safe COVID behaviour,” the Home Ministry said in a statement.
What is worrying the centre is the positivity rate in Delhi, which is over 12 per cent. On Sunday, it recorded 12.7 per cent while the national average is less than half. On Sunday, it was 4.3 per cent.
The hospital bed situation was also discussed. Delhi government officials told the Home Ministry that 57 per cent of the 15,789 dedicated beds are vacant. The Delhi Police Commissioner said there has been no let up in enforcement and awareness generation.
“The strategy to contain spread of COVID-19 in Delhi, especially keeping in view the festival season and decreasing temperature, accompanied by rising pollution, was discussed at length,” a senior official said.
According to him, representatives of Health Ministry and experts who present in the meeting suggested that targeted RT-PCR testing in sensitive and critical zones should be done.
“Restaurants, marketplaces, barber shops and salons; gear up the availability of medical resources including beds, ICUs, and ventilators as a pre-emptive measure; ensure high degree of contact tracing and monitoring of quarantined contacts so as to suppress and break the chain of transmission,” he said.
The Home Secretary said the situation in Delhi would be reviewed again in the coming week, along with other districts of the National Capital Region (NCR).
The meeting was attended by VK Paul, member, NITI Aayog; Secretary, Health Ministry; Director General of ICMR; Chief Secretary and other senior officers of the Delhi government and the Delhi Police Commissioner.
The Delhi government also made a presentation on the situation of COVID-19 in the city. The national capital recorded 5,664 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking the infection tally to over 3.92 lakh, even as the positivity rate jumped to nearly 13 per cent. The number of dead has risen to 6,562 with 51 more fatalities.
This was the fifth day on the trot that the city reported over 5,000 new cases amid festivities and rising pollution in the city.