COVID cases could breach old single-day spike record, given the pace of spread: Jain

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New Delhi, Apr 7 (PTI) As COVID-19 cases continued to rise in the national capital, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said it seemed that the new cases 'could cross' the last single-day spike record registered in November, given the pace of the spread of the infection.

The highest single-day spike in Delhi till date -- 8,593 cases -- was reported on November 11, while on November 19, the city recorded 131 COVID-19 deaths, the highest single-day fatality count till date.

Interacting with reporters, he, however, added that it will be too early to speculate on that as of now, and government efforts are to contain the incidences as effectively as possible, and urged people to follow all safety norms.

'It seems that it could cross the old record as per the pace of spread. The seriousness of the problem is that cases have crossed 5,000-mark in about three weeks unlike in earlier months when it was below 200,' Jain said at a press conference.

Delhi recorded 5,506 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest single-day rise this year, while 20 more people died due to the coronavirus infection, taking the death toll to 11,133, according to the city Health Department.

The positivity rate also breached the 6 per cent-mark (6.1 per cent) amid a massive surge in cases in the span of the last few weeks.

This is also the second consecutive day when over 5,000 cases have been reported in a day Earlier in the day, Jain justified the night curfew and said it was imposed to further check the spread of infection.

'We took the decision to impose a night curfew in the city as reports were coming about parties and gatherings being held in various parts. Given the situation right now, one person can spread to everyone else in a gathering and to more people, so we took the step,' he said.

However, it is 'not a harsh step' and there are various categories of exemption, he said, adding that restaurants in the city usually operate till 11 pm, so in view of public safety, they have to close only one hour early.

The positivity is above 5 per cent in Delhi, 25 per cent in Maharashtra, 16 per cent in Chhattisgarh and 10 per cent in many other states.

'If the positivity rate in Delhi was that much, the situation could be worse. We are monitoring the situation very seriously in Delhi,' he said.

Jain's remarks on the pandemic situation came a day after the Delhi government imposed a night curfew in the national capital from 10 pm to 5 am till April 30 in view of rising COVID-19 cases. The city had recorded 5,100 fresh cases on Tuesday, while 17 more people succumbed to the infection.

Over one lakh tests, a record, were conducted on Monday, and the positivity rate on Tuesday stood at 4.93 per cent.

Asked about the efficacy of night curfew in curbing cases, he said, 'Let's wait and watch.' On e-passes procurement issues faced by people, the minister said, it is a 'teething problem' and should be sorted soon.

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the national capital, Jain on Tuesday had said the city government was alert on the pandemic situation and keeping a 'close watch' on it.

He reiterated his demand that vaccination should be opened to all adults, except those who are not medically compliant with the norms for inoculation against COVID-19.

Asked about an IPL match due to be held in Delhi on April 29, he said, 'The matter has been taken into cognisance.' On the issue of rising cases in the city, he said, 'About 2,000 beds have been escalated in the last few days at various hospitals, and another 2,000-2,500 beds will be added in the next couple of days'.

Over 84,000 people were vaccinated in Delhi on Tuesday till 10 pm, out of which 21,388 got the shots at private hospitals and 62,825 received the jabs at government hospitals, Jain said.

'The trend of cases needs to be monitored, and we are keeping a close watch on it. Currently, the positivity rate has crossed the 5 per cent-mark for the entire country. However, in Delhi, we are completely alert and are being cautious,' Jain had said on Monday. PTI KND GJS GJS AAR AAR