Delhi recorded 3,726 new coronavirus cases and 108 deaths in the past 24 hours, government data showed late Monday night. This is the first time in six days that the number of daily deaths has gone above the 100-mark, and it is also a significant spike from the 68 deaths recorded on Sunday.
The number of new cases detected has dropped compared to the preceding 24 hours (4,906) but this is likely because of lower testing on a weekend. A little over 50,000 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, compared to an average of 65,000 conducted on week days.
Delhi’s fatality rate remains around the 1.6 per cent mark, which is marginally higher than the national average of 1.5 per cent. The positivity rate is 7.4 per cent to 3.8 per cent nationally.
The division of Covid tests in the past 24 hours – a key statistic given the need for governments to move away from the faster but less reliable Rapid Antigen Tests to the more accurate RT-PCR variety, showed that Delhi conducted a shade more of the latter.
There were 26,645 RT-PCR tests carried out to 24,025 antigen tests.
This morning Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the price of RT-PCR tests in private hospitals would be slashed by two-thirds. The tests, which can cost up to Rs 2,400 will now be capped at Rs 800.
Tests conducted at government hospitals are free.
RT-PCR test costs are the subject of a plea – to cap it at Rs 400 nationally – in the Supreme Court.
Delhi has struggled to contain a fresh wave of Covid infections that started in the first week of November. On November 12 daily cases crossed 8,000 for the first time, prompting Home Minister Amit Shah to step in and drawing a series of withering criticisms from the Delhi High Court.
Mr Shah directed the Delhi government to scale up testing and focus on the RT-PCR variety. The shortage hospital beds was also discussed. The Delhi government ordered several private hospitals to reserve 80 per cent of their ICU beds and the centre said it too would provide more beds.
This week the centre told the Supreme Court that the Delhi government took “no effective preventive steps” to check the spread of the virus. The centre said the city had been warned of a spike in cases because of the combination of winter, the festive season and air pollution.
Chief Minister Kejriwal has blamed worsening air quality (due to stubble burning in neighbouring states) for the spike, and earlier said the situation should be in hand by the end of November.
The national capital has reported over 5.7 lakh cases since the pandemic began in December last year, with more than 9,000 people having died in the city. The active caseload is over 32,000.