The Capital added the fewest new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday in 292 days, recording just 94 new infections, the lowest since it added 74 cases on April 30.The new cases on Tuesday came on the back of 56,944 new tests, at a positivity rate of 0.17%.
However, the number of tests in general — and RT-PCR tests specifically — has seen a slight dip over the past few weeks.
The Capital conducted a daily average of 38,366 RT-PCR tests in the seven days ending February 16, as against the 41,493 tests it was performing at the start of the year.
Experts have warned that if the RT-PCR tests slacken, it could catch the Capital off guard if the outbreak begins resurging.
In December, the city conducted over 76,500 tests each day on average. This reduced to just 67,100 tests in January and just over 57,700 as on February 16, according to the daily data shared by the Delhi government.
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The proportion of RT-PCR test has, however, increased from 49.9% in December to 58% in January and 63.8% in February.
The daily positivity rate — proportion of samples that return positive among total tested — stood at 0.17% on Tuesday, the lowest ever recorded in the city. The positivity rate in Delhi has been steadily declining since early-December and has been below 1% for 52 days now and below 5% for 76 days.
Experts believe that the spread of the infection is under control if a positivity rate of 5% or less can be maintained over two week. However, experts and the state government have warned repeatedly against residents slackening their guard.
“The reason for the number of cases going down across the country seems to be immunity gained by the population through exposure to the infection,” said Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the department of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research.
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As many as 56.13% of the 28,000 people sampled during Delhi’s fifth serological survey, conducted in January, were found to have developed antibodies against the virus
Dr Kant however warned that the new Brazilian, South African, and UK variants of the virus may pose causes for concern. “If there is indigenous transmission of these variants, it will be very difficult to stop as these variants have a higher transmissibility and the vaccines may not be as effective against them,” he said.
He also urged the government to maintain a high testing level.
“The surveillance needs to be kept up at the same level that it was when the number of cases was high. It will be important to help the government in detecting any new cases that happen, especially if there is indigenous transmission of the new variants. Currently, a consortium is also sequencing a proportion of the genomes of positive cases and should be able to identify is that happens,” said Kant.
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Vaccination drive in Delhi
On Tuesday, over 15,000 doses of the vaccine against Covid-19 were administered across 265 centre in Delhi. Of these, 2,532 were the second doses received by health care workers. There hasn’t been an increase in the proportion of health care workers getting the second shot, which still remains at just over half as on Tuesday.
Among those who received the shot for the first time, over 70% were frontline workers.
So far, 214,625 people have been vaccinated against the viral infection in Delhi, including frontline workers. However, the number is still less than the total 240,000 healthcare workers who had been registered to receive the vaccine.