Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has extended the lockdown in the city by another week, making the restrictions stricter. Even the metro services have been suspended this time. The lockdown will be on till 5 am on May 17. Mr Kejriwal said the extension is meant to ensure that the city does not let its guard down even though the Covid numbers have dropped marginally.
“The positivity rate has gone down but still we can’t afford leniency. We need to extend to lockdown,” Mr Kejriwal said.
While the positivity rate, which stood at 35 per cent in mid-April, has dropped to 23 per cent, doctors say even this is very high and there is a need to completely break the chain of transmission.
The total number of cases in Delhi has reached 13,10,231 — of which 87,907 are active cases. The total number of fatalities is 19,071. The city recorded a positivity rate of 23.34 per cent and case fatality rate of 1.46 per cent.
This would be the fourth week of the lockdown imposed as the Covid numbers in the national capital skyrocketed, bringing hospitals to their knees and pushing patients and doctors to look to social media for help amid a huge crisis of oxygen, beds and drugs.
“During the lockdown we utilised the time to enhance our healthcare infrastructure. The main issue in Delhi was oxygen shortage. With Centre’s help, the condition is better now,” the Chief Minister said.
Amid a bitter fight with the Centre over oxygen availability in the Delhi High Court, the Supreme Court, which had taken up the issue, ordered the formation of a 12-member National Task Force to assess availability and distribution of medical oxygen.
“We expect leading experts in the country shall associate with the Task Force, as members and resource persons,” the court had said in its final order on Friday.
The shortage of oxygen was flagged not just by Delhi but several other states and hearings about the issue had been in six high courts.
Many states have also been hobbled by the shortage of vaccines, which have emerged as the key hope as the country grapples with the second wave of the virus.
The Chief Minister said he was hopeful that the Centre will “help us deal with the vaccine shortage”.
While vaccines may not be able to entirely keep away the virus — which has undergone several mutations –they can markedly reduce the severity of the disease and consequently the pressure on hospitals and bring down the mortality rate, doctors have said.
India recorded 4,03,738 fresh Covid cases and 4,092 deaths over the last 24 hours, taking the overall case count to 2.22 crore, showed data from the health ministry.
This is the fifth time in a week that the country has reported over 4 lakh daily infections.