Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said the Covid-19 situation in the national capital is “totally under control”, despite the recent spike in daily cases, which he attributed to scaled-up testing, and urged people not to hesitate to go out and get tested.
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Addressing a digital press conference, the chief minister said testing has been doubled to nearly 40,000 tests per day, with camps now set up in mohalla clinics, weekly markets, inter-state bus terminals and construction sites.
Kejriwal’s comments came on a day when Delhi recorded 2,973 cases of Covid-19 — the highest single-day spike since June 26, when 3,460 infections were logged.
“In the last few days, Covid cases in Delhi have increased and people are getting worried about it. I spoke to several experts. Some call it a second wave, some say it is not. But, keeping all these technical aspects aside, I reviewed the entire situation over the past four or five days and want to assure everyone that Delhi’s situation is well under control,” Kejriwal said.
He said the reason Covid-19 cases are increasing in the city again is because of increased testing. “From 18,000-20,000 tests per day, we are now conducting around 40,000 tests. So, more people are getting identified, treated and they are being isolated to prevent them from spreading the infection to others. Today, if I decrease the number of tests, the number of daily cases will also come down and everyone will be happy. The only way to defeat Covid-19 is aggressive testing. There is nothing to be scared, but there should be no scope for complacency,” he said.
Delhi on Saturday conducted 38,895 tests — the highest ever in the city so far.
The chief minister also tried to allay fears of beds not being available for Covid treatment and said the government has a plan ready in case there is a need to increase beds in the city. Senior government officials said the drill would be the same, to requisition more hospitals, hotels and banquet halls as was done in the months of May and June.
He said that of over 14,000 Covid beds in Delhi’s hospitals, only around 5,000 are currently occupied. “The rate of admission in hospitals has been almost constant over the past few weeks. Of the 5,000, around 1,600-1,700 beds are occupied by people coming from other states for Covid treatment. In the last five years, Delhi government improved the city’s health infrastructure in such a way that now people from across the country are coming to the Capital to get treated. In case there is a need, we will increase beds,” Kejriwal said.
Delhi has seen an increase in positivity rate from 5.9% to 9% — which means the Capital has the fifth worst figure in the country.
The chief minister also urged people not to be complacent, and follow Covid-19 preventive measures strictly. “Some people are not getting tested. People say nowadays everyone is recovering on their own, so there is no need to get tested. No, please go and get tested. Please also do wear masks when you step out and follow physical distance,” he said.
On Saturday, Delhi recorded 25 deaths taking the city’s total death toll to 4,538.
Kejriwal talked about the city’s fatality rate, which he claimed is currently not only the lowest among other states in India, but also among other cities across the world.
Government data between August 15 and Friday showed Delhi’s CFR is 1.4%, which means that out of 100 infected people, one person is losing their life. The national fatality rate, on the other hand, is 1.7%.
“Time and again I have said there should be no deaths because of Corona. This is the most crucial aspect of Corona. On Friday, there were 2,914 cases and 13 deaths. The death count is the lowest not only across the country but across the world, which means that the death rate yesterday was 0.4%. The day before yesterday, the death rate was 0.6%,” Kejriwal said.
He compared the data with June when Covid-19 cases in Delhi had peaked and said there were days in June when the daily number of deaths was more than 100.
“Today the number of deaths ranges between 10-20, despite the same number of positive cases. To achieve this, we formed separate teams of doctors and conducted audits in every hospital in Delhi — whether a private, government or an MCD hospital. We rectified even the smallest problems which were identified as a cause of death. I want to thank all the doctors, the officers, and all the hospitals who have cooperated in our objective to bring down the number of deaths in Delhi,” he said.
The chief minister added that people are getting infected but are also recovering swiftly. Around 87% of the people have recovered in Delhi, while the national recovery rate is 77%, he said.