NEW DELHI: Doubling of testing in the next two days and a house-to-house health survey at Covid-19 hotspots in Delhi for effective contact tracing besides earmarking 500 railway coaches were among the measures announced by the Centre on Sunday as it stepped in to tackle the rapid surge in new infections in the national capital.
As the country recorded the highest one-day spike of 11,929 cases to take the tally to a little over 3.20 lakh, Delhi was at the centre of strategies to fight the pandemic with Union Home Minister Amit Shah convening two back-to-back high level meetings where Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were present.
The meetings took place on a day when Delhi recorded 2,224 new Covid-19 infections in the highest single-day spike taking the tally to 41,182. The death toll mounted to 1,327 with 56 more fatalities, according to the Delhi Health department.
It is for the third successive day that over 2,000 cases were reported in a day in Delhi.
Delhi is the third worst hit state after Maharashtra(1,07,958) and Tamil Nadu(44,661), according to data from the three states.
The country’s overall Covid-19 recovery rate rose to above 50 per cent with 1,62,378 patients cured so far, while 1,49,348 cases were active, the ministry said. There were 311 new deaths to take the death toll to 9,195 that made India the ninth worst-hit country in terms of Covid-19 fatalities.
After a meeting with Baijal and Kejriwal, Shah said the Centre will also provide the Delhi government necessary resources like oxygen cylinders, ventilators and pulse oximeters. He also ordered the immediate transfer of four IAS officers to the Delhi government and attachment of another two from the Centre.
The home minister said India is fighting the coronavirus strongly and the government is sad and sensitive to the suffering of the families who lost their dear ones due to the infection.
“The Modi government is determined to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection in the country’s capital,” Shah asserted, as authorities felt a great sense of urgency given the capital’s importance in political and economic terms. He said testing will be doubled in the next two days and increased to three times after six days.
Terming his meeting with Shah as “extremely productive”, Kejriwal said the Centre and the Delhi government will fight the Covid-19 together.
“Extremely productive meeting betn Del govt and Central govt. Many key decisions taken. We will fight against corona together (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted.
Sources said the meeting discussed every aspect of the coronavirus situation, adding the issue of any reimposition of lockdown in Delhi did not come up.
Shah’s second meeting was with top functionaries of Delhi’s three municipal bodies. He has also convened a meeting of all the political parties of Delhi for which the BJP, Congress, AAP and BSP have been invited.
The measures announced on Sunday came two days after the Supreme Court tore into the Delhi government over the “deplorable’ state of affairs” at its hospitals for treatment of Covid-19 patients and also decreased testing, calling the situation in the national capital “horrendous, horrific and pathetic”.
Shah said Covid-19 tests will be started at every polling station in containment zones and a comprehensive house-to-house health survey will be conducted in the hotspots for contact tracing. Union Health Minister Vardhan was also present at the meeting.
In view of shortage of beds for coronavirus patients in Delhi, the Modi government has decided to immediately provide 500 railway coaches which will be equipped with all facilities, the home minister said. The number of beds is set to be increased by 8,000 with the provision of railway coaches.
Shah and Vardhan were asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday to plan a coordinated and comprehensive response to handle the challenge posed by rising cases of Covid-19. .
“To prevent coronavirus infection in Delhi, testing will be doubled in the next two days and after six days the testing will be increased to three times.
“Also, after a few days, the testing will be started at every polling station in the containment zones,” Shah said in a series of tweets in Hindi.
According to the city government’s recent submission in the Delhi High Court , the combined daily testing capacity of 40 labs, 17 public and 23 private, is 8,600 per day.
The number of containment zones in the capital has increased from 122 on June 1 to 242.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal said the bed strength in the national capital for treating coronavirus patients will increase by 5,000 after the city government decided to declare small and medium multi-speciality nursing homes having 10 to 49 beds as “Covid nursing homes”. Standalone exclusive eye centres, ENT centres, dialysis centres, maternity homes and IVF centres are presently exempted, an official order said.
According to the Delhi Corona app, there are 9,802 beds available for coronavirus patients in city government, central and private hospitals with 5,367 beds being occupied at 11 am on Sunday amid reports that a large number of beds are vacant in the city government hospitals.
Elsewhere in the country, Kerala reported a marginal dip in new cases with 54 people, including three health workers, testing positive, taking the tally to 2,460 but Andhra Pradesh recorded a single largest spike of 294 in a day. Kerala has been recording over 75 fresh cases in the last three days.
In AP, the number of cases crossed the 6,000 mark to reach 6,152, according to official data.
In Tamil Nadu, 38 more people died of Covid-19 pushing the toll to 435 in the state, where 1,974 people were infected by the virus on Sunday, the health department said.
With 1,974 fresh cases being confirmed, the total number of those affected by the disease in the state climbed to 44,661, it said.
Besides Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, the other states reporting coronavirus cases were Gujarat–23,038, Uttar Pradesh–13,118, Rajasthan–12,401 and West Bengal–10,698. On Sunday, Maharashtra recorded a jump of 3,390 new infections.
The number has gone up to 10,641 in Madhya Pradesh, 6,824 in Karnataka, 6,749 in Haryana and 6,290 in Bihar, 4,878 in Jammu and Kashmir, 4,737 in Telangana, 3,723 in Odisha and 3,718 in Assam.
There are 3,063 cases in Punjab while 1,785 people have been infected in Uttarakhand and 1,711 in Jharkhand. A total of 1,512 people were affected in Chhattisgarh, followed by 1,046 in Tripura, 523 in Goa and 502 in Himachal Pradesh.
The number of coronavirus cases rose to 449 in Manipur, 437 in Ladakh and 345 in Chandigarh. Puducherry has registered 176 Covid-19 cases so far, followed by Nagaland 163, Mizoram 107 and Arunachal Pradesh 87.
Sikkim has 63 Covid-19 cases, while there are 44 cases in Meghalaya and 38 in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu have registered 35 cases so far.
A day after allowing the use of antiviral drug remdesivir and off-label application of tocilizumab and convalescent plasma in moderate cases of Covid-19, the Union Health ministry said the “use of these therapies is based on limited available evidence at present”.
The ministry clarified that remdesivir has been included as an “investigational therapy” only for the purpose of restricted emergency use following certain news reports regarding the use of the drug as part of the clinical management protocols for Covid-19 and its availability in the country.
Restricted emergency use of drugs in the country for treatment of suspected or laboratory confirmed Covid-19 in adults and children hospitalised with severe disease is subject to a set of conditions., according to the health ministry’s revised ‘Clinical Management Protocols for Covid-19’ issued on Saturday.
The ministry, meanwhile, said the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) testing capacity for detecting Covid-19 cases was also being ramped up continuously.
In total, 893 laboratories — 646 government and 247 private — tested 56,58,614 swab samples till 9 am with 1,51,432 of them in the last 24 hours, the ministry said.
Source : TOI