Delhi on Sunday recorded over 4,000 fresh coronavirus cases on the fifth consecutive day, taking the cumulative tally past 2,18,000. The death toll climbed to 4,744 after 29 new fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours. CNN-News18 on Monday spoke to the Delhi Health Minister, Satyendra Jain, to discern the state government's initiatives taken to arrest the resurgence of a high Covid-19 daily count and their effectiveness.
In Delhi, the number of Covid-19 cases and its testing rate is rising. The daily case count has also crossed the 4000-mark. What steps is the Delhi Govt taking so that we don't see the situation that was witnessed in June again?
Even now, the occupancy rate in government hospitals is below 50%, so half of the beds are free. However, in some private hospitals, ICU beds are fully occupied. So, we have issued an order that 80% of ICU beds in the 33 private hospitals, which have high demand, will be reserved for coronavirus.
Is this with immediate effect?
Yes. However, we will wait for patients to be discharged in case of beds that are already occupied. Maybe, it will take another two to four days. But, 80% of the beds will be reserved for Covid-19.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had taken a decision to increase ICU beds. How many ICU beds is the government aiming to add to avoid another crunch?
We are aiming to add at at least another 500 beds, which will also enhance the choices available with people when it comes to hospitalisations.
Any trend over the past few days that you could read as positive? Any ray of hope?
The number of testing has almost quadrupled. The Delhi government used to conduct around 16,000 -17,000 tests daily that has been increased to over 60,000. Early detection is the aim of this exercise, which will help in isolating a Covid-19 patient quickly so that the disease does not spread. If we don't do that, the infected person may choose to get tested after ten days and by then, would have spread the infection to ten more people. In another two weeks, we will see a favourable trend.
Cases are on the rise across the world. One country has re-imposed lockdown. Is re-imposing a lockdown an option for the Delhi government?
Let me tell you that we are following the right strategy for the current situation. Here, the mortality rate used to be 3.5% to 4.5%. In the past ten days, the mortality rate has been 0.68%. Our primary aim is to save lives. On that count, we are fairly successful.
Many people are complaining about various symptoms even after being discharged. There is no cure, it seems?
There is no specific cure to Covid-19. Yes, even after testing negative, people are complaining of fatigue and breathlessness. We have formed a post-Covid-19 center in the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital. If anyone has these symptoms, they can visit this hospital.