Yellow alert to continue in Delhi as Covid cases spike

Yellow alert to continue in Delhi as daily Covid-19 cases spike

In a week’s time, the positivity rate of coronavirus cases jumped to 1.29% from 0.19% in Delhi between December 23 and 29

People visit a crowded Sarojini Nagar Market, open on odd-even system as per guidelines set by the Delhi government, in New Delhi. Credit: PTI Photo

Delhi on Wednesday reported a massive jump in daily Covid-19 infections with 923 fresh cases, the highest since May 30 and 86 per cent up from a day earlier, even as the city government decided to continue with existing restrictions under the 'yellow alert' for a while before announcing more curbs.

After six months, the positivity rate crossed 1 per cent as it was recorded at 1.29 per cent. On December 20, there were only 91 Covid-19 cases in the national capital and the figure climbed to nearly 1,000-mark with fresh 923 infections on Wednesday.

The city also recorded 238 Omicron cases on Wednesday. There were 165 cases of the new variant a day earlier.

According to authorities, about 38 per cent of the total samples analysed at various genome sequencing laboratories in Delhi in the last one week have been detected with Omicron variant of Covid.

“Of the 468 samples analysed during December 21-28, the Delta variant of coronavirus has been detected in 31 per cent of these samples, and rest 30 per cent constituted other variants,” official sources said.

Earlier in the day, Health Minister Satyendra Jain said many international travellers, who have tested negative at the airport, are testing positive after a few days and infecting their family members during the period.

"The cases have increased due to international flights. Even during the earlier wave, the cases rose with flights coming in," he told reporters.

A senior government official said out of 14 Omicron cases in southeast Delhi, seven did not have any travel history. He claimed that the new variant has been "spreading in the community", even as he did not divulge any further details.

In a week’s time, the positivity rate of coronavirus cases jumped to 1.29 per cent from 0.19 per cent in Delhi between December 23 and 29.

A similar trend was witnessed in the total number of coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, Lt Governor Anil Baijal chaired a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) where it was decided to continue with the existing restrictions imposed recently in view of rising cases and to keep a close vigil on the ground situation.

The DDMA had on Tuesday declared ‘yellow alert' under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the city amid a spike in coronavirus cases following the emergence of the virus's Omicron variant.

The 'yellow alert' entailed restrictions like night curfew, closure of schools and colleges, opening of shops selling non-essential items on an odd-even basis, halved seating capacity in Metro trains and buses, among other things.

The authorities are in favour of monitoring the situation for some more time and to avoid imposing further restrictions under 'amber alert', officials said on Wednesday.

"The important thing is that hospital bed occupancy is low. It was decided that enforcement of existing restrictions should be strictly followed so that infections are contained at the most. The further restrictions under 'Amber' (Level 2) alert could be implemented if the need arises," said a senior government officer.

An 'amber alert' is declared when the positivity rate is recorded at one per cent or above for two consecutive days. It involves imposition of weekend curfew, closure of restaurants and bars, seating capacity reduced to 33 per cent in Metro trains, closing non essential shops by 6 pm, among others.

During the meeting that was also attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, it was decided to ensure strict implementation of restrictions imposed under the 'yellow alert'. In case, the situation worsens, emergency measures may be imposed, officials said.

On May 30, Delhi had recorded 946 Covid-19 cases and 78 deaths with a positivity rate of 1.25 per cent. Wednesday's positivity rate is the highest since May 28, when the positivity rate was recorded at 1.59 per cent.

On Tuesday, the city saw 496 Covid-19 cases and one fatality due to the disease.

Delhi on Monday had recorded 331 fresh Covid-19 cases, the highest single-day rise since June 9, and one death while the positivity rate mounted to 0.68 per cent, according to the data.

On Sunday, Delhi logged 290 cases with a positivity rate of 0.55 per cent and one fatality, according to official figures. On Saturday and on Friday, the daily case counts were 249 and 180 respectively.

A total of 71,696 Covid-19 tests were conducted the previous day, including 64,233 RT-PCR ones, while the rest were rapid antigen ones, the bulletin said.

There are 2,191 active cases in the national capital, up from 1,612 a day ago. As many as 1,068 patients are in home isolation, up from 836 on Tuesday, it said. The number of containment zones stands at 502, a significant increase from 397 the previous day.

The bulletin said 55 patients with moderate level of infection are on oxygen. It stated that 115 patients were shifted from the airport to hospital and they are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. A total of 145 patients have mild symptoms. There are no patients who are on ventilator support. A total of 200 patients are in hospitals, including 98 from outside Delhi.

The number of people under home isolation stood at 692 on Monday, while it rose to 836 on Tuesday, and the number of containment zones in the city stood at 397, a significant jump from 310 on Monday, the bulletin added.

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