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Delhi adds 368 new cases of Covid-19

With 368 new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases on Monday, Delhi added fewer than 400 cases of the viral infection after four days
By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 16, 2021 12:20 AM IST

With 368 new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases on Monday, Delhi added fewer than 400 cases of the viral infection after four days. However, the dip in numbers is likely due to fewer tests conducted on Sunday, reported a day later in Monday’s health bulletin. The city had conducted just over 62,000 tests for Covid-19 on Sunday, compared to an average of over 71,000 tests conducted over the four days before that when the city had seen over 400 cases.

To be sure, testing numbers usually see a dip on account of the weekend

This puts the positivity rate – proportion of samples that return positive among the total samples tested – at 0.59%. The increase in positivity rate is indicative of increasing spread of the infection. However, experts believe that the spread is still under control till a positivity rate of 5% or less in maintained. The positivity rate in Delhi has been on the rise since mid-February, however, still remains below 1%.

The average positivity rate over seven days stood at 0.56% as compared to 0.43% the week before and 0.36% before that.

“The positivity rate in Delhi was over 15% at one time and the WHO (World Health Organization) says that it should be below 5%. The positivity rate in Delhi has been below 5% for a few months now and below 1% for nearly 2.5 months. In comparison, the positivity rate in Maharashtra is 16.46%, Kerala 3.54%, Punjab 4.81%, and Gujarat 1.78%. This means that the positivity rate in Gujarat is three times that of Delhi, Punjab six time, Kerala seven times, and Maharashtra thirty times,” said Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain.

He added, “Till the positivity rate does not cross 1%, the infection is well control. The numbers are fluctuating a little. But, we are alert. We have increased the number of tests to over 70 thousand. We are taking all precaution.”

The minister also said that people need to keep following all precautions, even during festivals such as the upcoming Holi, as the infection is likely to happen in waves. “It does not look like Covid-19 will just come to an end; it is likely to keep coming back. What we have learnt so far is that wearing masks is the best way to prevent the infection. Even those who have taken the vaccine should keep wearing masks.” Play dry Holi, he suggested.

Experts said that one of the major cause of the increase in the infection is the complacency in following norms by the people after the infections went down. “People are going to markets and marriages. They are hardly interested in putting on the masks. This is because the number of cases has gone down, many think it is just like the flu, and others think that the vaccine will protect. Truth is, Covid-19 is not really like flu as most people have immune response ready for the common viral infection. Covid is new and not everyone has immunity to it. Vaccinating enough number of people will also take time,” said a senior pulmonologist from Safdarjung hospital, on condition of anonymity.

On Monday, over 21 thousand people over the age of 60 years received their first shot against Covid-19 and 3,429 people between the ages of 45 years and 59 years with comorbidities did, according to government data.

The number of hospitalisations are also on the rise. There were 607 Covid-19 patients undergoing treatment in various city hospitals as on Sunday night as compared to 489 at the beginning of the month.

“There were very few admissions for nearly fifteen days, however, the number of admissions have started increasing over the last three to four days. Hopefully, the surge would not be like the one we had seen in November because many people have already been exposed to the infection and still others are getting vaccinated. There is a need to strictly enforce masking like the government was doing previously,” said Dr Rajesh Chawala, consulting pulmonologist at Indraprastha Apollo hospital.

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