New Delhi: The Delhi government on Monday ordered that one-third of inoculation sites at its hospitals run round-the-clock and directed government as well as private hospitals to augment the number of beds reserved for coronavirus patients as the national capital recorded over 3,500 fresh COVID-19 cases and 15 more deaths.
The case positivity rate also rose to 5.54% amid a massive surge in cases in the last few weeks, according to a health bulletin.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to relax the norms for opening vaccination centres and lift the age criterion for getting inoculated.
He reiterated that the Delhi government can vaccinate all the residents of the city within three months if the necessary permissions are granted by the Centre.
Health minister Satyendar Jain said as the city is reeling under the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, testing capacity has been ramped up and micro-containment zones being set up in areas where two or more cases are getting reported.
The number of cumulative cases on Monday stood at 6,79,962. Over 6.54 lakh patients have recovered from the disease, the bulletin said.
The vaccination sites at present operate from 9 am to 9 pm.
“In order to accelerate the pace of COVID vaccination, it has been decided that the timings of functioning of the COVID vaccination centres should be increased,” an order stated.
“It is hereby ordered that with effect from 06.04.2021, one-third of the vaccination sites in all Delhi government hospitals will also function from 9.00 pm to 9.00 am,” it said.
The Delhi government ordered that the beds reserved for COVID-19 patients will be increased at LNJP hospital from 300 to 1000, at Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital from 50 to 100 while at GTB Hospital it is to be hiked to 500.
Fifty-four large private hospitals having bed strength of 100 beds or more have been asked to reserve at least 30 per cent of their ICU beds or double the occupancy as on April 5, whichever higher and 30 per cent of their ward bed capacity or double the occupancy, whichever higher for COVID-related treatment.
“The case positivity rate was 4.64% on Sunday. Random tests are being done at a fast pace and capacity is being ramped up. More than 80,000 tests are being conducted a day which is five times more than the national average,” the health minister told reporters.
The Kejriwal government is taking a number of other decisions to contain the contagion, the minister said, adding that micro-containment zones are being created wherever two to three COVID-19 cases are getting detected.
“Asserting that the rapid spread of infection amid immunisation campaigns suggest that we must move the vaccination campaign forward in a more swift manner,” Kejriwal wrote to the prime minister, urging for relaxation in norms for opening vaccination centres and age criterion for getting inoculated.
“If the rules for opening new centres are simplified and everyone is allowed to vaccinate, then the Delhi government will be able to vaccinate all Delhi residents in three months. The Delhi government is fully prepared for it,” he said.
Jain had earlier said that according to the World Health Organisation, the situation is considered under control if the positivity rate remains below 5% for several days.
The number of cumulative cases as of January 1 had stood at over 6.25 lakh and the total fatalities were 10,557.
The number of daily cases had started to come down in February.
On February 26, the month’s highest daily count of 256 cases was recorded.
However, the daily cases began to rise again in March and have been steadily increasing since then.
Health experts and doctors have attributed this “sudden rise” in cases to people turning complacent, not following COVID-appropriate behaviour and assuming that all is well now.
The next two-three months could be challenging, they said, adding that the situation can be kept under control if vaccination is opened up for more people and COVID-19 protocols are strictly adhered to.