A day ahead of the phased relaxation of the lockdown, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that restrictions will not be eased in the national capital as cases of covid-19 continue to rise. The state government will review its decision after a week, Kejriwal said.
This comes in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation last week saying that while the lockdown was being extended till 3 May, there will be some relaxation in districts that do not have any hotspots or show an improvement in containing the number of cases. Delhi, at present, has the second-highest number of cases after Maharashtra, with 1,893 people testing positive till date. Delhi accounts for 12% of the total positive cases of covid-19 in the country, though it has only 2% of India’s population, Kejriwal said.
As the national capital, Delhi saw the highest number of foreign travellers and the Tablighi Jamaat event, which led to a spurt in the number of cases, he said.
The city has 77 containment zones, which have been sealed to control the spread of the viral disease.
“We need to decide if there should be a relaxation in Delhi. According to the central government notification, containment zones and hotspots should not be given a relaxation. Delhi has 11 districts and all have cases. We have also held meetings with experts. The last few days have seen a spike in total cases, we have also started testing more. Yesterday, of the tests we did, 25% tested positive. All the patients are asymptomatic. They didn’t know they had coronavirus. This is even more worrying,” the chief minister said during a digital press conference. Delhi conducted 736 tests on Saturday. Of these, 186 cases were positive.
“I also want to give a relaxation. People are facing a lot of trouble. If we give that relaxation and the situation worsens, we won’t be able to forgive ourselves. The situation is worrying but we don’t need to panic. We need to work to reduce this. At present, there are 1,900 cases in Delhi. If there was no lockdown, imagine the effect there would have been. Other countries are suffering because they don’t have enough ICUs, ventilators,” he said.
“The number of containment zones has also gone up. Random testing in containment zones showed that when people followed the restrictions, there were no new cases. Where people didn’t follow, the number of cases increased,” Kejriwal said.
On Saturday, more than 25 members of a family who stay in the same lane in Jahangirpuri in Delhi tested positive. The lane was a part of one of the 77 containment zones.
Of the others who tested positive on Saturday, one is a man who had volunteered at one of the government food centres in Delhi. The government will now hold rapid tests on all those who come to the shelter for food.
“When we spoke to one of the persons who tested positive, he said that he was helping in one of the food centres. We have ordered that the people who come to that food centre, should go through rapid testing. We will also test all the officials who are giving out food in all the centres,” he said.
This comes days after a food delivery executive who worked for a pizza company in South Delhi tested positive, leading to more than 70 families who he had delivered to being put under quarantine.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government announced that it will hold 42,000 rapid tests in containment zones in the next week to ascertain the spread of the disease.