COVID-19 tests in Delhi will be doubled to 40,000 per day within a week as there has been a marginal increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the city, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday, asserting that aggressive testing and isolation will remain his government’s strategy to fight the disease.
IMAGE: Health workers conduct COVID-19 antigen tests for migrant workers in New Delhi. Photograph: PTI Photo
He said at present, 20,000 tests are being conducted per day in the city.
Addressing an online media briefing, the chief minister said it is not that the intensity of the infections had increased and asserted that the COVID-19 situation is completely under control.
He said although there has been a marginal increase in cases in the last few days, his government will not allow the situation to deteriorate in the city.
The government has also decided to provide oximeters and oxygen concentrators to those discharged from hospitals in case they need, he said.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had called a high-level meeting to discuss the rising number of coronavirus cases in Delhi.
“We are going to double the tests from around 20,000 per day to 40,000 tests daily within a week. Our strategy against coronavirus will remain aggressive testing and isolation,” he said.
The chief minister appealed to the people to get tested if they have COVID-19-related symptoms and cautioned against complacency, which he said may lead to a rise in number of cases.
He said his government has issued directions for stringent enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines, adding that everyone should wear face mask and maintain social distancing at public places.
“Do not be offended if the police or any authority fines you for not wearing mask. This is for the safety of all. There is confidence among the people but it should not lead to complacency and neglect.
“We have all brought coronavirus under control with great difficulty. It cannot be allowed to increase,” he said.
On Tuesday, Delhi recorded 1,544 more COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths. It was the first time in over a month that the number of new infections crossed the 1,500-mark.
During the online briefing, he said after August 17, there has been a marginal increase in COVID-19 cases in the national capital.
“The cases were ranging in between 1,200 to 1,400 since August 17. The cases went down some days. However the number was 1, 544 in yesterday’s report,” he said.
In the last 24 hours, 1,693 new COVD-19 cases have been reported in Delhi, he said, adding that the government has a total of 14,130 COVID beds out of which 10,448 are vacant.
“Only 3,700 COVID beds have so far been occupied by coronavirus patients and of these, 2,900 are occupied by Delhiites and 800 by those from other states,” Kejriwal said.
He asserted that death of any COVID-19 patient, who is under home isolation, has not been reported in Delhi since July 14.
The chief minister also said a new trend has been noticed that when the COVID-19 patients recovers and comes back home, the symptoms still remain and the patient still suffers from low oxygen levels and breathing issues.
“A few patients have also lost their lives because of fall in oxygen levels. Our Health Minister Satyendar Jain had recovered from coronavirus, but took few days to fully recover and get back to his normal situation,” the CM added.
He asserted that the COVID-19 situation is under control in Delhi for the past one and half months and all the parameters were fine.
“There has been decrease in number of deaths. Also, the recovery rate is over 90 per cent and the number of patients in the hospital has come down.
“There was a time when number of deaths were around 100, but now it is below 20 and on some days, it was even below 10. The government is working to ensure zero COVID-19 deaths,” he said.
Presently, the death rate due to COVID-19 is 1.4 per cent in Delhi which is the lowest in the country, Kejriwal said.
Appealing to people to wear face covers and follow social distancing norms, the chief minister encouraged them to go for COVID-19 tests even on slight suspicion of catching the virus.
“We are getting cases where 7-8 people from one family are getting infected, and this is because a single infected person did not get tested for many days even after having symptoms and that infected other people,” he added.
So if anyone suspects COVID-19 infection, he or she should immediately get tested at the government hospitals and dispensaries free of cost, he said.
On Tuesday, Delhi’s COVID-19 tally rose to over 1.64 lakh, while the death toll from the disease mounted to 4,330. The positivity rate on Tuesday stood at 7.7 per cent.