Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said people who have arrived here from the UK are being rigorously traced and tested for any COVID-19-like symptoms. He asserted that the coronavirus situation in the city is under control with the positivity rate plummeting to below one per cent.
Interacting with reporters, Jain said the suspension of flights to and from the United Kingdom was a prompt move by the Centre and will help in containing the spread of the new coronavirus strain detected in that country. "We are alert and watchful at our end. People who have arrived here from the UK in the last several days are being rigorously traced and tested for slightest of COVID-like symptoms," Jain said.
"A team has been made and house-to-house tracing is being done… they (UK returnees) are being advised self-isolation too," he added. Delhi has fought difficult battles with COVID-19 and all efforts will be made to ensure that the gains made in the management of the pandemic are "not reversed" due to the new situation in the UK, Jain had said on Tuesday.
"Delhi situation is under control as of now with less than 1,000 cases being reported for the third successive day… the positivity rate has dropped to less than one per cent which is the lowest in the last eight months. We will do everything to keep this situation under control," he said.
Asked about the new COVID-19 strain threat and the Delhi government's preparedness to combat it, Jain said, "Only ICMR and scientists can give us insight into this new strain. They say it's more contagious and some scientists conjecture the coronavirus strain in circulation in India may have already reached the new mutative state". "The coronavirus mutates with time and the best shield from any strain is to wear masks and observe safety norms," he added.
He reiterated that the Delhi government has made storage and logistics preparations and trained staff too as it awaits the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine. On Centre contemplating to not vaccinate children against COVID-19 at this stage, Jain said, "The idea is to eliminate the virus and the vulnerable sections are being preferred first." "So, the healthcare workers, frontline workers, people above 50 years and those below 50 years with serious ailments are the first ones who will get the vaccine," he said.
Sources on Tuesday had said that an institutional quarantine facility was being set up at the LNJP Hospital for passengers found positive at Delhi airport, amid mounting concern over the new strain of the virus. The Civil Aviation Ministry on Monday had said all flights from the UK to India and vice versa will remain suspended from Wednesday to December 31 in view of the emergence of a mutated variant of the coronavirus there.
Six passengers travelling on Air India's London-Delhi flight tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival, a senior government official had said on Tuesday. In the last two weeks, about 6,000-7,000 people have landed at the Delhi airport, many of whom would have travelled to other places like Punjab from thereon, Jain had said on Tuesday.