The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Monday recommended further curbs in the national capital to brake the speed with which COVID-19 cases are rising. Although the health infrastructure is not overwhelmed yet, the rising death count (17 for the second consecutive day) as well as the number of patients on ventilator (65 as of Monday) is worrisome. There are over 65,000 active cases, including many in the medical profession.
While the DDMA did not recommend a lockdown in the city, it suggested that restaurants and bars be closed down and only the take away facility be allowed. Also, only one weekly market will be allowed per day per zone. Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal, who chaired the meet, made this announcement in the evening. These curbs are additional to the weekend lockdowns and night curfew already in place. Malls, cinemas and gyms have been shut, as are educational institutions. Most government offices are in the work from home mode while the private sector has been told to stagger attendance to not more than 50 per cent of staff in office.
The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendra Jain, NITI Aayog member Dr V.K. Paul, AIIMS chief Randeep Guleraia and ICMR head Dr Balram Bhargava.
Baijal said that the Test, Tack and Treat strategy will be adhered to with emphasis on adhering to Covid appropriate behaviour. The authorities will also monitor the geographical spread of the infection and take stock of available beds, medical equipment, vaccines and medicines.
The positivity rate in the city has reached 25 per cent, with the addition of 19,166 new cases, which is a notch below yesterday’s count of around 22,000. Around 14,000 patients recovered from the infection. However, bed occupancy is increasing, with around 2,700 admitted in hospitals and Covid care centres. The reassurance is that over 80 per cent of beds available are still vacant. The city had augmented bed capacity, in preparation for a third wave. The worrying part is that 443 patients are in the ICU.
The omicron variant is touted to be less severe than Delta, though more infectious. The rising ICU admissions and deaths, however, indicate that either omicron is not that mild, or the Delta variant is getting aggressive again. Before Omicron entered the scene, the cases had subsided massively, the Delta variant, therefore, had quietened down.