Delhi may bring back Covid checks for domestic flyers
The Delhi disaster management authority (DDMA) will convene a meeting on Monday to decide whether it was necessary to put in checks and safeguards — such as mandatory negative RT-PCR test reports — for people arriving from states where Covid-19 cases are spiking, said senior government officials on Friday.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain on Friday asserting during an event that the Capital is out of the “danger zone”.
“The DDMA is meeting on Monday for review of Covid-19 situation in other states and union territories, especially those in which the number of cases are rising again,” confirmed Delhi’s chief secretary Vijay Dev.
Another senior official in the executive committee of the DDMA, who did not wish to be identified, said: “On Monday, the authority will also decide whether, at this stage, it is necessary to impose conditions such as mandatory RT-PCR test results – that are valid for 72 hours – for people arriving from the states where cases are rising again.”
The DDMA is chaired by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is the authority’s vice-chairperson.
In Delhi, the daily test positivity rate has remained less than 1% for more than two months now. On Friday, government records showed, Delhi recorded 158 new Covid-19 cases and a positivity rate of 0.26% with 60,836 tests — of which 39,931 were RT-PCR tests, that are believed to be more accurate — being conducted. So far, 637,603 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Delhi of which 625,653 people have recovered and 10,897 have died.
“I feel now that all the three waves of Covid-19 have hit the city and it will die down eventually. Now it is no more a pandemic but an endemic… I hope we won’t see 8600 cases in a day. I feel we are out of the danger zone but we still need to take proper precautions, masks and social distancing needs to be maintained,” said Satyendar Jain on Friday at an event to felicitate health workers at Lok Nayak hospital – the city government’s biggest Covid-19 facility.
At its peak, Delhi recorded 8,593 new Covid-19 cases on November 11 – the highest for a single day in the city.
HT on Friday published a report that showed how Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir have witnessed their seven-day averages of daily Covid-19 cases rise by between 20% and 69% , which highlights the potential risk of a surge in cases amid fears of mutant strains gaining ground, and laxity in adhering to protocols due to Covid fatigue being reported across the country. In Kerala, the first wave continues unabated.
Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the epidemiology and communicable diseases department in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said: “Cases are going up in several other states. With that, Delhi should immediately scale up surveillance and tests. The state should have anyway gone slow on some relaxations, especially those concerning closed spaces, such as movie halls and banquets. So, Delhi cannot scale down tests at any cost. Imposing conditions such as RT-PCR test for people arriving from other states, especially those where cases are rising again, should also help.”