Relatives of a Covid-19 victim grieving at Lodhi Road crematorium in New Delhi.
Relatives of a Covid-19 victim grieving at Lodhi Road crematorium in New Delhi.

Delhi Covid-19 cases dip to 6,430, CM urges caution

  • There were 337 more deaths due to Covid-19 on Saturday, according to the government’s health bulletin on data from the previous 24 hours.
By Anonna Dutt, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 16, 2021 03:07 AM IST

Delhi on Saturday reported 6,430 fresh Covid-19 cases, and the positivity rate dipped to 11.32%, with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal saying that infections were “slowly and steadily” reducing in the national capital, where the health care system was overrun by spiralling cases amid a raging fourth wave of the pandemic.

The Capital has been under a lockdown for about four weeks, a “last resort” measure taken by the Delhi government to arrest the alarming spread of the infectious disease, which led to hospitals being overburdened and medical supplies running short. While the current lockdown is supposed to end on May 17, there are indications that it could be extended.

There were 337 more deaths due to Covid-19 on Saturday, according to the government’s health bulletin on data from the previous 24 hours.

Saturday was the second consecutive day when Delhi recorded fewer than 10,000 cases in recent weeks. On Friday, the Capital recorded 8,506 cases, the lowest since April 10. The city conducted only 56,811 tests, according to Saturday’s bulletin, as compared to almost 70,400 tests conducted on average daily over the last seven days.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal said: “The virus is reducing in Delhi slowly and steadily, and I hope it diminishes completely and does not rise again. However, we are not going to become negligent in anyway.”

At the peak of the positivity rate in the fourth wave, more than one in three people in Delhi who got tested were found to have the infection.

Experts urged caution over the dip in the cases, saying that Delhi needed to keep its guard up until the burden on the health care system reduced and the positivity rate came under control.

Dr Jugal Kishore, head of the department of community medicine at Safdarjung hospital, said: “Delhi has a large floating population, there are children, and there is the threat of new variants so spikes can happen. We need to keep following Covid-19-appropriate behaviour and the government should remain prepared to tackle a surge in cases.”

The number of cumulative cases on Saturday stood at 1,387,411. Over 1.2 million patients have recovered from the infection, which began spreading in the country in March last year. Saturday’s cases were the lowest in 38 days since April 7, when the city reported 5,506 new cases.

The number of cases of the viral infection spiralled in the city in recent weeks, reaching a high of 28,395 cases reported on April 20.

Experts also warned that a third surge in infections could be in children. “If a third wave does come, children would be the most vulnerable as many adults have either had the infection or are being immunised. We need to prepare for management of cases in children; all the treatment protocols and SOPs will have to be made afresh,” said Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the department of epidemiology at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Dr Anupam Sibal, a paediatric liver specialist and group medical director Apollo Hospitals, said: “…If we do have a third wave a few months down the line and a lot of adults are vaccinated, those below the age of 18 years will remain vulnerable and infections in that age group will become more common. So, even if a small percentage of them fall ill and need hospitalisation, given a large number of infections, the numbers will be significant. So, it stands to reason that we plan ahead.”

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