The active cases of coronavirus reported on Saturday in the national capital were the lowest in the last 31 days, Delhi's health department data shows, while not a single coronavirus patient under home isolation in the city has died in July and there has been a "sharp decline" in daily fatality figures in the past two weeks, a government study on COVID-19 deaths has said.
According to the state health department's bulletin, 1,781 fresh cases of the viral disease were reported, taking the total coronavirus count in the city to 1,10,921. Since June 27, the fresh cases' figures have remained in the range of 1,000-2,000.
The bulletin said there were 19,895 active cases -- the lowest since June 11. According to the data, on June 10 there were 19,581 active cases in the city. Since then Delhi has seen a sharp rise in daily cases, pushing the active cases to nearly 28,000 (June 27 reported 28,329 total active cases).
It is for the first time since June 11 that the total number of active cases has gone below 20,000.
Thirty-four fresh fatalities were reported, taking the death toll in the capital to 3,344, as per Saturday's bulletin.
The current recovery rate of coronavirus cases is a little over 79 per cent, according to the data.
"During the June 24 to July 8 fortnight, a total of 691 deaths took place in Delhi, which is an average of 46 deaths per day during this period," the government said in a statement.
According to the study, the number of daily deaths in the past few days has come down. From a high of 101 daily deaths in mid-June, daily deaths due to COVID-19 have come down to around 46 during the last fortnight, registering a significant decline, it said.
Delhi's overall death rate has come down to 3.02 per cent from 3.64 per cent in June. However, daily average has come down to roughly 2.5 per cent with average daily number of deaths being less than 50, the study said.
"Out of the total 691 deaths that took place in the last fortnight, only seven deaths happened in home isolation (between 24 June to 30 June). Not a single coronavirus patient has died under home isolation in July," the statement said.
This can be attributed to the chief minister's decision to distribute oximeters to all patients under home isolation, it said, adding that the use of these oximeters alerts the patients of any dropping oxygen levels which is an early sign of deteriorating health.
The chief minister held a review meeting on Friday to discuss measures which need to be taken to further reduce mortality.
In view of the deaths at the hospitals (and not in home isolation), it was felt that systems in each hospital need to be examined in detail, the statement said.
The chief minister has asked for the ratio of deaths to total number of patients discharged from each hospital. Hospitals with low ratio would mean better management, it said.
Good practices in the hospitals would be studied and implemented at those facilities where more deaths are taking place. The chief minister will continue to monitor all serious cases on a daily basis, it added.
Of the 691 deaths in the last fortnight, 505 patients were in serious condition when admitted to the hospitals and 291 were already in hospital when they tested positive for COVID-19.
The study also found delay in hospital admission in case of 28 patients.
According to a central government committee, 45 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in India occur during the first 48 hours. In Delhi, this has come down to 15 per cent, the statement said.
A number of steps have been taken by the Delhi government to lower COVID-19 deaths which have contributed to the reduction in number of fatalities, it said.
The interventions at six crucial points - enhanced testing, home isolation of asymptomatic and mild symptom patients, faster ambulance service, quick hospital admission, easy hospital bed availability and enhanced ICU capacity - have started showing results, it added.
In a related development, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the Delhi government has decided to cancel all forthcoming semester and final exams of universities under it due to the COVID-19 situation.
Sisodia said these state universities have been asked to promote their students and award them degrees by adopting a "progressive method of evaluation".
The state universities under Delhi government include National Law University, Delhi Technological University, Ambedkar University, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Netaji Subhas University of Technology and Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women.
The deputy chief minister who is also Delhi's education minister said studies in the universities were disrupted due to the pandemic and it was not possible to conduct examinations.
Separately, Kejriwal requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his intervention in cancelling final year exams of Delhi University and other central universities in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Modi, Kejriwal said "unprecedented decisions" need to be taken during the prevalence of a pandemic such as COVID-19.
Delhi has central universities like the Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University.