As Delhi Records Close to 7,000 Cases, Data Suggests 74% of Those Infected Belong to 21-59 Age Group

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74% of total coronavirus infections in Delhi are in the age group of 20-59 years, Delhi government officials told the Union Home Secretary at a Covid-19 review meeting on Monday. Officials who aware of the meeting told News18 that after the age-related data was highlighted, a decision was taken to target this group in the communication strategy.

"Whatever data has come out suggests that fatalities among senior citizens is less in Delhi. 21-59 age group has high fatality -- that group has to be educated that they are very vulnerable," an officer said.

Delhi on Tuesday recorded over 6,700 fresh cases for the first time taking the infection tally in the national capital to over 4 lakh, even as the positivity rate stood at 11.29% amid festive season and rising pollution in the city. The 6,725 fresh cases came out of the 59,540 tests conducted the previous day.

This is the first time when the number of daily cases has crossed the 6,000-mark. The previous highest single-day spike till date here -- 5,891 cases -- was recorded last week.

A three-pronged IEC strategy -- focusing on information, education, communication -- has been agreed upon by the MHA, Delhi government and Delhi Police. Officials present at the meeting said Delhi government has agreed to tweak the existing messaging and target this group that is the working population.

The police through SMS, standees, vehicles with megaphones will disseminate the same message.

Officials said even though Delhi numbers are constantly rising, the possibility of a lockdown was not discussed at the review meeting. "You can't lock down the economy but people who are going out on a regular basis to earn livelihood have to be told to wear a mask, keep social distance and wash their hands," an official who attended the meeting told News18.

The Delhi police commissioner also pointed out that penalising was not helping enforce mask wearing. "Delhi CP said that people prefer paying penalty than wear mask. It is tough to explain to them how essential mask wearing is," a source said.

This was the second Covid-19 review meeting after one on October 12 chaired by the Union Home Secretary. It was attended by NITI Aayog member VK Paul, ICMR director general, Delhi Police Commissioner, and officials of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Delhi government.

As per a statement from the MHA, "it was decided at the meeting to concentrate efforts in certain key areas, such as targeted RT-PCR testing in sensitive and critical zones like restaurants, market places, barber shops/salons, etc; gear up the availability of medical resources including beds, ICUs, and ventilators and ensure high degree of contact tracing and monitoring of quarantined contacts, so as to suppress and break the chain of transmission".

A decision was also taken to ensure that all cases under home isolation were monitored and shifted to hospitals well in time, before any deterioration in their medical condition. It was also emphasized that the Metro travel should be carefully regulated, strictly in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that has been issued.