New Delhi: Delhi on Monday surpassed Tamil Nadu to become the second worst-hit by coronavirus among various states and union territories, according to the data released by the respective governments.
Moving to strengthen the containment strategy, Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev directed officials to implement all directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs, including re-mapping of containment zones and aggressive contact-tracing.
As on Monday, the number of coronavirus cases in the national capital stood at 62,655 cases, marginally higher than Tamil Nadu (62,087). Maharashtra has 1,35,796 cases, the highest in the country.
Even by death count, which stood at 2,233, Delhi is on the second spot among the states and union territories
With the cases rising, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that his government will give pulse oximeters — devices that measure oxygen level in blood — to the COVID-19 patients under home isolation and said the number of coronavirus tests has increased by three times in Delhi.
Addressing an online media briefing, Kejriwal said in the last one week, there was a rise of only 1,000 active coronavirus cases, which indicates that the COVID-19 situation is slowly stabilising in the city.
From June 15 to 22, Delhi reported 21,473 coronavirus cases. However, 20,379 people also recovered from the disease in the national capital in the said period. If the sharp spike seen in the last week continues, Delhi could well eclipse Mumbai to become the city with largest coronavirus cases. Mumbai has 67,375 cases.
For the past three days, Delhi has recorded 3,000 cases and above daily – June 19 (3137), June 20 (3,630) and June 21 (3,000).
On Monday, it reported 2,909 fresh cases. The city has 23,820 active cases. With 58 fresh fatalities, the death count stood at 2,233.
Earlier this month, the Delhi High Court had observed the national capital is heading towards becoming the “corona capital” of the country.
Mr Kejriwal said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is getting “enough support” to arrest the spread of COVID-19 in Delhi.
“We will give pulse oximeters to the COVID-19 patients under home isolation. Every district will have oxygen concentrators. Delhi will soon have a helpline and our team will go to the houses of the patients who are recovering from the disease to provide oxygen,” Mr Kejriwal said.
The patients can return the pulse oximeters to the government after they have fully recovered, he added.
Coronavirus affects the respiratory system, leading to breathlessness and drop in oxygen level in blood.
Mr Kejriwal said 18,000 coronavirus tests are being conducted daily in the city now. Until a few weeks ago, around 5,000 COVID-19 tests were being conducted daily in the national capital.
With the Centre’s help, antigen tests, which give the results within 30 minutes, have also been started in Delhi, the chief minister said.
A high-level committee set up by Union Home Minister Amit Shah had recommended quarantine of contacts of all COVID-19 positive cases in Delhi and re-mapping of all containment zones to check the rapid spread of the coronavirus infection in the national capital.
At a meeting with Mr Kejriwal, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and others, Shah had on Monday suggested that these recommendations be accepted by the Delhi government, following which the Delhi Chief Secretary issued directions.
“The chief secretary has issued directions to the principal secretary (Health) and the divisional commissioner to scrupulously implement all the directions of the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) to aggressively fight COVID-19, including enhanced surveillance, re-mapping of containment zones, enhanced testing, aggressive tracking and patient-friendly medical care,” a source said on Monday.
The committee had recommended that containment zones be drawn afresh and strict vigil and control be maintained on their borders and activities inside them, the home ministry had said in a statement.
It had also suggested that contact-tracing be done for all infected people and once identified, such contacts should be quarantined.
The chief minister said that till now, Delhi did not require beds for COVID-19 patients on a large scale as most of them recovered from the disease, adding that the number of serious patients is also less in the national capital.
Mr Kejriwal said that as on June 12, a total of 5,300 beds were occupied in all the hospitals in the city.
“6,200 beds are occupied now, which means only 900 more occupied in the last 10 days…7,000 beds are still available.
“This means that the number of new coronavirus patients admitted in hospitals is almost the same as that of the people recovering from the disease and going back to their homes,” the chief minister said.
There was some chaos a few days ago as regards availability of beds, he said, while asserting that his government has worked on a war-footing to increase the number of beds in government and private hospitals.
Meanwhile, 17 inmates of the Mandoli Jail have tested positive for coronavirus. This comes days after a 62-year-old inmate who shared cell with him died of coronavirus.
Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel said among the 29 inmates who were tested for COVID-19, 17 were found to be positive.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)