COVID: 332 deaths, over 17,000 cases in Delhi; traders call for lockdown extension



NEW DELHI: Delhi recorded 332 more COVID-19 fatalities and 17,364 new infections on Saturday, while the positivity rate remained below 25 per cent for the third consecutive day, the Health Department said.

This is the fifth time in the last six days that the number of new cases remained below 20,000.

Delhi had reported 19,832 cases on Friday, 19,133 cases on Thursday, 20,960 cases on Wednesday, 19,953 on Tuesday, 18,043 on Monday, 20,394 cases on Sunday, 25,219 on Saturday, 27,047 on Friday, 24,235 on last Thursday and 25,986 on Wednesday last week, according to data.

The case positivity rate was 23.34 per cent, the lowest since April 16, when it was 19.7 per cent, according to government data.

It was 24.6 per cent on April 17.

The national capital registered a positivity rate of 24.92 per cent on Friday, 24.29 per cent on Thursday, 26.37 per cent on Wednesday, 26.73 per cent on Tuesday, 29.56 per cent on Monday, 28.33 per cent on Sunday, 31.6 per cent on Saturday, 32.7 per cent on Friday and 32.8 per cent on last Thursday.

On April 22, a positivity rate of 36.2 per cent, the highest so far, was recorded.

The city had witnessed 341 deaths on Friday, 335 on Thursday, 311 deaths on Wednesday, 338 on Tuesday, 448 on Monday, the highest so far, 407 on Sunday, 412 on Saturday, 375 on Friday last week, 395 on last Thursday and 368 on Wednesday last week.

The national capital conducted 74,384 tests, including 62,921 RTPCR/CBNAAT/True Nat tests in the last 24 hours.

Over 20,900 people recovered from the infection in the last 24 hours, the health bulletin said.

There are 87,907 active cases and over 12.03 lakh people have either recovered, migrated out or have been discharged, according to a health bulletin.

The infection tally rose to 13,10,231 after the national capital recorded 17,364 new cases in the last 24 hours, it said, adding that the death toll increased to 19,071 after 332 more people succumbed to the pathogen.

Of the 22,289 hospital beds for coronavirus patients in the city, only 2,451 are vacant, it said.

Of the 5,525 beds in COVID care centres, 4,792 are vacant while only 99 beds are vacant out of 206 at dedicated COVID health centres.

As many as 49,865 patients are in home isolation and the number of containment zones have risen to 51,338, according to the bulletin.

A total of 79,800 beneficiaries were vaccinated on Friday, of which 67,753 were those who got their first dose, the bulletin stated.

Meanwhile, traders’ body CTI on Saturday said 65 per cent respondents in a survey conducted by it favoured extension of the ongoing lockdown in Delhi in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Delhi government imposed a weeklong lockdown in the city in the wake of steep rise in COVID positive cases in April.

After two extensions, the lockdown is scheduled to come to an end at 5 AM on May 10.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday had said that a decision on extending the lockdown further will be taken after reviewing the situation.

“Right now the citizens of Delhi themselves want this lockdown to continue, to stop the spread of this virus,” he had said.

Brijesh Goyal, chairman of Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI) said that “65 percent of Delhi’s traders favour increasing (extending) the lockdown in Delhi.”

He said that “480 traders and industrial organisations gave their opinion in the survey”.

About 315 of these 480 organisations said that the lockdown in Delhi should be extended by one week.

Two week extension was favoured by 60 organisations, said a CTI statement.

Nearly 100 organisations said that the lockdown in Delhi should be lifted and traders be allowed to open shops and markets three days a week or on an odd-even basis, it added.

The Delhi government on Saturday formed a committee of senior officers to ensure COVID appropriate behaviour like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing in wholesale vegetable and fruit markets in the city.

The officers nominated as representatives in the committee will not be below the rank of sub-divisional magistrate or assistant commissioner, stated an order issued by Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).

The committee will submit a detailed action taken report to the Delhi chief secretary by May 13, it said.

The order stated that the panel will take all requisite measures for ensuring compliance of COVID appropriate behaviour in all ‘mandis’ of Delhi as also for decongesting them so that social distancing norms and such other protocols are strictly followed.

“It will take all necessary decisions and actions for ensuring that all fruits sellers, hawkers and customers in ‘mandis’ are adhering to the norms of COVID-appropriate behaviour like wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing etc,” the order stated.

The committee will also analyse the situation and take appropriate action for decongesting the markets through various measures such as staggered timings, allowing vendors on alternate days, removing illegal vendors and reducing the number of vendors and hawkers.

It will check if market authorities are taking all requisite actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

These actions included regular sanitization, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene, and create public awareness on COVID appropriate behaviour, the order stated.

The committee’s members will include functionaries of the Delhi Agriculture Marketing Board, representatives of police, district administration, civic bodies.

Secretaries of mandis will be secretaries in the committee, it said.

On the other hand, Over 1.14 lakh people were vaccinated against COVID-19 in Delhi on May 7, a senior government official said on Saturday.

This is the highest number of people vaccinated in a day so far, said Ashish Kundra, officer on special duty (health).

As many as 1,14,657 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered on Friday, he said.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that Delhi has been vaccinating more than one lakh people every day.

This includes around 50,000 people in the 18-44 age group and 50,000 aged 45 and above.

Delhi is not getting an adequate supply of vaccines.

If it gets the required number of doses, then the government will be able to vaccinate all within three months, he said.

He also said the number of COVID-19 vaccination centres will be increased three times in Delhi and demanded that the Centre supply around 2.6 crore more vaccine doses for inoculation of all people in the national capital in the next three months.

Currently, vaccination is going on at 100 centres in Delhi.

The number of centres will be increased to 250-300 by the Delhi government, he said in an online briefing.

He said that Delhi currently has vaccine doses to vaccinate people for next 5-6 days and urged the Centre to provide adequate jabs.

In order to vaccinate all people in Delhi, over 3 crore doses will be required, out of which around 40 lakh have already been received, he said.

The chief minister urged the Centre to provide it 85 lakh doses per month so that all the Delhiites could be vaccinated in the next three months.

Kejriwal who inspected the ongoing vaccination drive at a centre in Chirag Delhi said there is great enthusiasm among the youth to get the jab.

He said that due to good arrangements in Delhi, people from NCR towns like Noida, Ghaziabad were also reaching here to get the vaccines.

So, Delhi will require a little more than three crore doses, he said.

He said Delhi is currently administering one lakh vaccine doses per day and it could increase this number to three lakh.

The chief minister said Delhi’s population is two crores, and close to one crore fall in the 18-44 age group.

Fifty lakh are below 18, and 50 lakh people are above 45 years of age.

“Roughly 1.5 crore people are above 18 years of age. We need three crore vaccine doses to vaccinate these 1.5 crore people, but we’ve received just 40 lakh doses. As a result, we need 2 crore 60 lakh additional vaccines,” he said.

Delhi has been vaccinating more than one lakh people everyday.

This includes around 50,000 people in age group of 18-44 years and 50,000 aged 45 years and above, he said.

Delhi is not getting an adequate amount of vaccines, and if it were to get the required amount of doses then the Delhi government will be able to vaccinate all within three three months, he reiterated.

“A major obstacle we’re facing is that of vaccine scarcity. If we get adequate doses, then as I have said repeatedly, we will be able to vaccinate the entire Delhi in three months.”

Citing warnings of a third wave of COVID-19, he said that vaccination is the only safeguard against the deadly virus.

He also urged the Centre and experts for finding alternatives to protect children below 18 years of age from COVID-19.

“We are particularly concerned about children under 18 years of age who cannot get vaccinated right now. I appeal to all experts and the Centre to arrange a vaccine for them too so that they can also get inoculated,” stated the chief minister.

He also supported one vaccine programme in the country as a firm possibility.

Kejriwal credited the central government for trying its best to provide Delhi with facilities during the pandemic, and hoped it will also assist in ensuring adequate doses for vaccination.

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