What citizens fear most – being confined to their houses for weeks on end – has been ruled out by the AAP government in view of the ‘low number of patients needing hospitalisation.’
As per Satyendra Jain, the Health Minister of Delhi, Covid cases are expected to touch the 20,000 mark on Saturday. Today, the capital reported 48 cases of the Omicron variant of Covid, taking the total number of cases of the new variant to 513 in the city. Among the worst hit are healthcare workers, who have tested positive as well in the capital. Despite this, it seems unlikely that there will be a lockdown announcement just yet, going by his statement.
While Jain had assured on Wednesday that there are enough hospital beds in Delhi to account for the increasing number of Covid-19 patients, the number of patients in city hospitals has seen a dramatic jump of over a 100% in the last couple of days. The data from Delhi’s government health bulletin revealed that as of Wednesday, there are 708 Covid patients admitted in city hospitals.
As per an order issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department of the state government, the Delhi government took note of the rising hospitalisations and has directed nine hospitals to increase their total Covid bed capacity from the existing 3,316 to 4,350 on Wednesday evening.
The nine hospitals are Indira Gandhi Hospital, Lok Nayak Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Burari Hospital, Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, Ambedkar Nagar Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital, and Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital. As per the Delhi Corona mobile app, as of 5:45 pm on Saturday, 87 ICU beds with ventilators have been occupied out of the total 1,673. A total of 291 ICU beds are also occupied while a total of 1,531 oxygen beds have also been taken.
According to the claims made by the health department, the occupancy rate right now is 10%, which is significantly lower than the 15% during the Delta wave last year.
It’s to be noted that in view of the rising number of cases, the Delhi government on Wednesday had issued an order canceling the leaves of all the state government officials. “Delhi government directs to cancel all leaves granted, except medical leave, to all officers, officials, and staff in all departments of State government and further directed no leave except medical leave shall be granted, nor allowed to leave the station, until further orders,” a statement said.
In the last one week, reports of several healthcare workers testing positive have come out.
On being asked if the government is considering a lockdown in the city in view of that and the rising cases, Jain on Thursday said that there is no plan of a lockdown yet, as the city already has taken stringent steps that includes night curfew and weekend curfew. These, according to Jain, should be sufficient for the time being.