Coronavirus lockdown: Delhi braces, CM Kejriwal says told of ‘potential Stage 3’ spread

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Coronavirus lockdown: “We are ramping up our capacity for an eventuality of 1,000 daily positive cases, for testing, treatment and isolation,” said Arvind Kejriwal.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Friday said he had been told to “prepare for a potential Stage 3 outbreak of Covid-19 in Delhi” and was, therefore taking steps to handle the situation even if it gets 1,000 COVID-19 cases a day.

Stage 3 denotes community transmission of the virus.

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Delhi has seen 40 coronavirus cases so far, including two deaths. While 30 people who tested positive came from abroad, the remaining 10 are cases of local transmission.

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In a tweet, Kejriwal said: “I have read the report from the panel of doctors headed by Dr Sareen recommending measures to prepare for a potential Stage 3 outbreak of Covid-19 in Delhi. We are ramping up our capacity for an eventuality of 1,000 daily positive cases, for testing, treatment and isolation.”

“The situation is under control right now. There were days when Delhi did not have a single case in a day. But looking at other countries like the UK, America, if the situation goes out of control, we need to be prepared. I had formed a five-member committee to prepare a roadmap for the future scenario if cases increase in Delhi. The plan is divided into three stages. Firstly, if Delhi starts getting 100 cases per day; secondly, if the cases reach 500 per day; and thirdly, if it reaches 1,000 per day,” he said.

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Kejriwal, however, added that there was no evidence to suggest Delhi has reached the third stage — that of community spread. Community spread of the disease is when infection cannot be traced back to someone who travelled from abroad and tested positive or someone who came in touch with a person who tested positive.

“Don’t think that this means things have gone out of control. We want to be ready for the possibility. Delhi has done well so far but we need to keep learning from other countries’ experiences and not sit idle,” he said.

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The government as well as private hospitals are being asked to prepare to care for a large number of COVID-19 patients in case the need arises, as per the plan.

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A migrant worker and his family on the move in Ghazipur, Delhi-UP border on NH-24, Friday night. They are heading home to their village in UP. (Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

Kejriwal also appealed to migrant workers, many of whom are walking to their villages in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, to stay in the city.

“All migrants in Delhi are Delhiites. They are our responsibility and we will do everything we can to help them. On Friday, we made arrangements to distribute food packets to 2 lakh people at several locations, including from school buildings. By Saturday, this number will be 4 lakh,” he said.

Kejriwal, who addressed a press conference with Lt Governor Anil Baijal in the afternoon, said the Delhi government has managed to transfer Rs 5,000 as various pensions in the accounts of 8 lakh people so far.

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