- Delhi is reporting a surge in COVID cases, said to be driven by the Omicron
- Delhi had imposed a weekend curfew last week; likely to continue with it
- Wearing a mask is better than imposing a lockdown: Delhi Health Minister
New Delhi: Since Thursday (January 6), Delhi is reporting over 10,000 fresh COVID-19 cases daily and on some days, even above 20,000. The national capital yesterday (January 10) reported over 19,000 new cases, marginally lower than 22,751 on Sunday (January 9). In an exclusive interview with NDTV, Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain spoke about the current COVID-19 situation and said, “The peak has already arrived, or will come in a day or two. It (peak) will happen this week definitely following which cases should start falling down.”
Last weekend Delhi imposed a weekend curfew in view of the rising caseload. When asked if the Delhi government is looking forward to continuing the weekend curfew, Mr Jain said,
We may enforce another curfew, just to remind people not to lower their guard.
Explaining the two main reasons behind a weekend curfew, Mr Jain said,
People tend to stay at home for at least two days and not mingle. Secondly, in Delhi, people either become carefree or get too scared. Therefore, the middle ground is that people should feel the presence of COVID and have some fear.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has time and again said that a complete lockdown won’t be imposed in the national capital but should citizens be prepared for more restrictions? To this, Mr Jain said that Delhi was the first to shut schools, colleges, cinema halls, and gyms and shops were allowed to open on an odd-even basis, among other restrictions. He added,
Our two years of experience of fighting COVID says that wearing a mask is better than imposing a lockdown.
On January 10, the positivity rate in Delhi stood at 25 per cent, the highest since May 5 last year. This essentially means that every fourth person getting tested in Delhi is turning out COVID positive. Though the city is reporting a surge in cases, said to be driven by the Omicron variant, the severity seems to be low, as per Mr Jain. Explaining the rise in cases and its impact on the healthcare infrastructure, Mr Jain said,
In every wave, COVID cases are usually high in Delhi because most international flights land here. However, one difference that we are seeing in this COVID wave is a low rate of hospitalisation. Even after reporting close to 20,000 cases, only 2,000 beds are occupied in COVID hospitals, leaving over 12,000 beds vacant. Last time, when the city reported an equivalent number of cases, around 13,000 beds were occupied. This time, the bed occupancy is less than six times. It looks the severity is low. Of 2,000 patients in the hospital, 65 are on ventilators. Earlier, this number used to be around 1,400.
Mr Jain also informed that a lot of patients are testing positive for COVID on arriving at the hospital for treatment of some other ailment.
Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in various parts of the country, India rolled out precaution dose or booster dose of vaccine for healthcare and frontline workers and senior citizens with comorbidities on January 10. Over 32,000 precaution doses have been administered in Delhi, so far.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.