Delhi schools won’t reopen till there is a vaccine, says health minister Satyendar Jain
Schools in Delhi are likely to remain shut till there is a vaccine against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) available, said Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday at a press briefing.
“There are no plans to open the schools as of now. A vaccine is likely to become available soon. Until we are completely sure about the situation being in control, schools are unlikely to open in Delhi,” said Jain.
Even with 61,000 tests being administered, Delhi had reported just over 5,000 cases on Wednesday and the positivity rate – number of samples that return positive among those tested – had dipped to 8.49%.
“The positivity rate was less than 8.5% yesterday [Wednesday]. On November 7, the positivity rate in Delhi was 15.2%. In the last three weeks, the positivity rate has been going down continuously,” he said. The positivity rate had touched 15.3% on November 15 as well, which was then a 140-day high. Experts say the spread of the infection is under control if a positivity rate of 5% or less is maintained over two weeks.
The government has been working on increasing the number of tests, especially the more accurate RT-PCR tests, after a meeting with the union home minister ten days ago. However, the numbers have remained stagnant close to 61,000.
“We are trying to increase the number of RT-PCR tests, over 35,000 samples are being collected. The labs have a capacity of 35,000 but they are unable to give reports within a day. Now, you will hear people say that their samples were collected two or three days ago. Testing has reached a saturation level,” said Jain during the briefing.
The government has also asked experts for measures that can be implemented to reduce the number of deaths from the infection. There have been around 100 deaths each day for the last 10 days in the city. “Yesterday, there was a meeting with experts and the CM has asked whether there was a need to change protocols or what needs to be done to reduce the number of deaths,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the government has increased the number of intensive care unit beds by 843 in the last five days, as per data on the Delhi Corona app.
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