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Delhi Health Minister Justifies Night Curfew, Seeks Relaxing of Age Criteria for Vaccine Amid Covid Wave

Satyendar Jain

Satyendar Jain

The minister clarified that those traveling into the city by flights or train can undertake their journeys during curfew hours by showing their tickets.

In the face of the exponential rise of coronavirus cases in the capital, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday justified the imposition of night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am and said that it is not a very harsh step.

“Let’s see if it has an impact or not. This is not a very harsh step. It starts from 10 pm in the night and by then people generally would have completed their work,” he said.

The minister also clarified that those traveling into the city by flights or train can undertake their journeys during curfew hours by showing their tickets.

On Tuesday, the capital recorded 5,100 cases, the highest in four months and 17 casualties. The positivity rate was to 5% at 4.93% while active cases crossed the 17,000 mark with 17,332 cases.

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The minister stressed on the seriousness of the Covid-19 situation in the capital, “In Delhi, the positivity rate is 5%, in Maharashtra, it is 25%, in Chhattisgrah it is 16% .. in many states, the positivity rate is over 10 per cent. If the positivity rate in Delhi also shoots up similarly, the situation could really worsen. I feel, we have to take whatever measure is needed to contain this.”

Jain also expressed apprehension that the record of the last peak should not be broken. Talking about the economic impact of this on livelihoods, he said that even now the timing is till 11 pm, and “people always talked in terms of extremes of a complete lockdown or nothing but a middle path has to be found.”

The vaccination process in Delhi has picked up from an average of 40,000 to 50,000 a week ago. Giving out details, Jain said that on Tuesday, till 10 pm, 84,213 people were vaccinated, of which 75% were in government hospitals and 25% in private hospitals. The day before, Delhi had vaccinated 87,673 people. In all, approximately thirteen lakh people have been vaccinated in the capital.

In terms of further bolstering preparedness in the hospitals, the Delhi government is also set to add another 2,000 to 2,500 beds in the coming two to three days according to the health minister, “In the past three days, more than 2000 beds have been added. In the coming two to three days,2000 to 2500 beds more will be added,” said the minister.

The minister also made a fresh push to relax the age criteria for those eligible for vaccination against the virus. “It is possible that those above 45 years may need the vaccine more but for those who are between 20 and 45, or 25 and 45, they are getting more infected and the disease is spreading fast in them, they are more mobile, very actively mobile. It does not appear that they may suffer much due to this, or are becoming serious, or have a higher rate of mortality. However, when they go home, there are chances of them infecting their parents or grandparents. Therefore, we had requested that vaccines should be available for all,” Jain said.

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