Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday tested positive for the coronavirus infection, a day after testing negative. The development came hours after Jain was tested for the second time.
Today my covid test found to be positive.— Satyendar Jain (@SatyendarJain) June 17, 2020
The minister's sample was taken on Wednesday afternoon for the second time after symptoms of fever and low oxygen levels persisted despite the earlier negative report. Jain was admitted to the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital on the night of June 15 following breathlessness and high fever.
"The minister continues to be on oxygen support for the second day in a row and his treatment is slated to continue at the same hospital," said an official.
Sources in Delhi government said contact tracing of people who interacted with him in the last couple of days has been started and accordingly, they will be quarantined as per the advice of doctors.
As Jain would be in hospital for the next few days, the charge of the health department may be given to another cabinet minister, even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is yet to take a decision on it, they said.
One of the key faces of the capital's COVID-19 fight, Jain has been actively holding multiple meetings at various levels. He was also present at the meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday to review the preparedness of the national capital.
Kejriwal and Jain had met at the latter's residence before the meeting and had returned from there in the same vehicle.
Afterwards, Delhi Jal Board Vice-Chairman Raghav Chadha and Jain had left Kejriwal's house in the same vehicle. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was also present at Kejriwal's residence following the meeting with Shah.
Just prior to his admission, Jain had also held a meeting with hotel and restaurant owners as the government sought to use the latter as extension of hospitals for coronavirus treatment in the face of spiralling numbers in the capital.
Apart from Jain, three other key members of the Delhi government also tested positive on Wednesday. AAP MLA from Kalkaji Atishi, who has also been involved in the thinktank of the AAP government's strategy of interventions (both in terms of relief and health measures from the beginning of the lockdown); AAP spokesperson Akshay Marathe, a member of Kejriwal's inner circle; and Abhinandita Mathur, advisor to Sisodia and actively involved in relief operations during the lockdown.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Atishi said she isolated herself on June 11 after an IAS officer in the Delhi Secretariat tested positive. Atishi said she got herself tested on June 16 and is asymptomatic.
Marathe said he had mild symptoms of sore throat and body ache. Mathur said she got herself tested at a paid facility. All three of them are currently in home isolation.
At present, all eyes are on Kejriwal and Sisodia who will have to isolate themselves as per protocol. Incidentally, Kejriwal had undergone a COVID-19 test recently and had tested negative.
Although Atishi, Marathe and Mathur had been working from a separate office, Kejriwal met Jain a couple of hours before the latter's admission. Similarly, Jain, Sisodia and Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot had attended the SDMA meeting on June 10. Apart from ministers, many bureaucrats and journalists have been meeting Jain regularly.
Meanwhile, Jain's father-in-law died on Wednesday after brief illness, sources said. He was 88, and was not diagnosed with COVID-19. He died of natural causes, they said, adding Jain's father-in-law was not keeping well for the past few days.
(With PTI inputs)