Pandemic phase of Covid-19 is over: Jain
- An infection is said to be endemic in a population when it is constantly maintained at a baseline level in a geographic area.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Sunday said that test positivity rates remaining lower than 1% for more than two months indicated that the pandemic phase for Covid-19 was over in the national capital.
“The pandemic phase for Covid-19 is over in Delhi. One has to look into the test positivity rate which has been lower than 1% for more than two months now. Covid-19 is now nearing an endemic phase in Delhi. Experts say some cases continue to occur in the endemic phase. Delhi witnessed a swine flu outbreak around 10 years ago, but still some cases are reported every year. Coronavirus is not going to end completely... we will have to learn to live with it,” Jain said in a press briefing.
However, experts cautioned against Jain’s remark. “The decision about whether it is a pandemic or endemic has to be taken by scientific bodies like the WHO or ICMR. It cannot be a political decision and we cannot loosen our grip and guard against coronavirus infections at this crucial point,” Dr JA Jayalal, president of Indian Medical Association, told NDTV.
An infection is said to be endemic in a population when it is constantly maintained at a baseline level in a geographic area. After reporting 300-plus cases for two consecutive days till Saturday, Delhi on Sunday recorded 286 new Covid cases and two related deaths, taking the city’s infection tally to 641,101 and fatalities to 10,921.
The 286 cases came on the back of 91,614 tests – of which 71,250 were RT-PCR tests that are believed to be more accurate. The caseload stands at 1,803, a jump of 24 patients from the 1,779 reported on Saturday, the bulletin showed.
Also, 260 patients were reported as recovered on Sunday, taking the total recoveries to 628,377 at a recovery rate of 98.01 per cent, according to data. The bulletin also showed that 937 patients have been in home isolation and the city currently has 538 containment zones as of Sunday.
On Sunday, the test positivity rate was recorded at 0.31%.
On Friday and Saturday, Delhi recorded 312 and 321 new Covid-19 cases respectively – and the positivity rates were 0.53% and 0.63% — raising concerns at a time when several other states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala are witnessing increase in cases once again. In Delhi, the total number of tests also dropped below 60,000 over Friday and Saturday, records showed.
The Union ministry of health and family welfare has categorised Delhi along with Gujarat, Karnataka, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh as states in focus, after a surge in the number of daily new cases were observed.
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday: “We are in the endgame of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.” He was speaking at the Delhi Medical Association’s (DMA’s) 62nd Annual Delhi State Medical Conference (MEDICON 2021) in collaboration with Dharamshila Narayana Hospital on Sunday.
Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the epidemiology and communicable diseases department in the Indian Council of Medical Research, said: “Pandemic and endemic are technical terms, best to be decided by experts on the basis of studies. As far as the numbers are concerned, Delhi is in stable shape now. However, Delhi government has to ensure that it does not scale down tests, contact tracing and surveillance. We have to learn from states which evidently went complacent with their policies and witnessed fresh uptick in cases.