Delhi witnessing fourth wave of Covid, 3,594 fresh cases, 14 deaths in 24 hours
Addressing a digital press conference on the rising coronavirus cases in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the Delhi government is not planning any lockdown in the wake of the fourth wave of corona in the national capital.
Kejriwal said: “India is witnessing a rise in coronavirus cases. Delhi, too, is witnessing a surge in corona. On March 16, there were 425 Corona cases in the city. Yesterday’s report is going to be published in a while, and the report that would be published today includes 3,583 positive cases. As I have always said that Delhi has encountered the worst coronavirus situation, this is the fourth wave for Delhi. For the country, this might be the Second Wave but Delhi is encountering the fourth peak. At this peak, we have seen that the cases have been rapidly increasing regularly and this is a matter of grave concern but one must not worry. The government is keeping an eye on the situation and all mandatory steps that need to be taken, are being looked into.”
Kejriwal said that according to the data, cases have been rising rapidly but this time, the fourth wave of coronavirus is less serious than the previous ones, in the sense that mortality rates are comparatively low and secondly, the number of people being admitted into hospitals and ICU is relatively low as well. “We saw that in October, 3000-4000 new cases came up daily. At the time, there were around 1700 patients in the ICU and today it is around 800, i.e. 50% drop. When at the same time, the mortality rate was 40 deaths per day, today it is around 10-12. This new wave is comparatively less serious in the sense that a lesser number of people are required to access the hospitals and most of them are being treated efficiently under home isolation,” he added.
He said: “As per the current situation, the government is not thinking of imposing a lockdown. We have kept an eye on the situation. However, if in the near future we find a need for it, such a decision would only be taken after consulting with the public. As of now, the government is not going to impose a lockdown.”
“However, in today’s meeting, we looked into the provision for additional requirements for hospitals in case people fall sick, and need to get admitted into the hospital. The provision of ambulance, hospital, ventilator, oxygen, and ICU were all discussed today and for this, a plan has been laid down as to in what stages the number of ICU beds in the private and government hospitals would be increased.
Hospital management and health management system, if cases increase at such pace in times of Coronavirus, were also looked into. Keeping that in mind we have fully planned the course of action today, said the CM.
Kejriwal said: “We have three broad concerns. Firstly, how to prevent its spread? For which we always emphasize testing, tracing, and isolation. This is being carried out quite aggressively and wherever there seems to be a need for demarcation of containment zones, it would be done to prevent its further spread. However, the government would play a very limited role in this. The most important role is that of the public. Us Delhiites tackled the last three peaks so beautifully and emerged successfully. Today, I would like to request you all to again start wearing your masks; since wearing masks, social distancing and frequent washing of hands are of prime importance in tackling its spread.”
He said: “The second important concern is that of hospital management, i.e. if we fall sick there must be ample facility in the hospital and a good treatment process. For that too, the government is taking the necessary steps. The third is that of vaccination, on which the government is paying full attention since the more number of people get vaccinated, the more control we would have over the situation.”
Kejriwal said: “We are glad that the Central government, since the 1st of April has permitted the vaccination of people above the age of 45. Yesterday, 71,000 people were vaccinated. Our capacity is now 96,000. We have been facing two issues- first that under the central government guidelines, vaccination can only be done in hospitals and health facilities. There was a little apprehension in the beginning with regard to the side effects of vaccination, i.e. in such a case, it could be treated immediately. However, it has been 3-4 months since the vaccination process began. Yesterday, 71,000 people have vaccinated out of which four people had a minor reaction, that too went away within 2-3 hours. This proves that the vaccine is safe. Hence, if the central government permits us to do mass vaccination then hundreds and thousands of facilities can be created in community centres, schools, etc and a mass vaccination drive could be initiated. If this is done, it would be a great aid to control the spread of the virus.”
Kejriwal added that adequate measures like provision of ambulance, first aid, etc can be done. The Centre should allow states to vaccinate everyone on a war footing; need to involve non-healthcare facilities in inoculation drive. However, if non-health facilities are not allowed to vaccinate people then Delhi might not be able to go beyond a certain number.
He said: “Secondly, the removal of 45 year age clause and allowing for vaccination of people belonging to all age groups would help in fighting the virus. I hope that the Central government looks into it and allows for the vaccination of people regardless of any age group, to the respective states. The Central government should open up the vaccination process for everyone instead of keeping it restricted to specific age groups.”