Delhi: Experts urge govt to scale up vaccination as COVID-19 cases rise again Delhi: Experts urge govt to scale up vaccination amid resurgence in Co'

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New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) Delhi is heading towards challenging two-three months in the wake of a resurgence in coronavirus cases, though the situation can be kept under control if vaccination is opened up for more people and COVID-19 protocols are strictly adhered to, experts said on Wednesday.

The national capital reported 1,101 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest since December 19 when 1,139 cases were recorded in a single day, according to official data.

Dr B L Sherwal, the managing director of Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, said, “We expect the numbers to increase in April and May. The problem is that the number of cases could be more as the virus has mutated.” However, the infection this time is mild to moderate and the case fatality ratio is low, he said.

“The health staff is much more experienced and aware about the virus. We are well prepared…. Delhi's health infrastructure is in a good condition. We have enough equipment and manpower,” Dr Sherwal told PTI.

He said that vaccination will have a significant impact on the spread of the virus and suggested that “everyone aged above 18 years be allowed' to take the jabs.

On Tuesday, the Union Cabinet decided to open up vaccination for all people aged above 45 from April 1.

The Delhi government has urged the Centre to allow everyone aged above 18 to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sherwal was of the view that a lockdown will not be effective even if the cases increase further. “There is a need for behavioral change and stricter compliance of COVID-19 norms,' he stressed.

Dr N K Ganguly, former director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said coronavirus cases had plateaued and a “resurgence in cases was inevitable”.

“The cases have increased again due to laxity in the observance of COVID-appropriate behaviour and easing of travel restrictions,” he said.

The government should vaccinate as many people as possible aged above 29 who are more vulnerable to the infection, he said, adding states should not relax and must keep on revising their strategy.

Dr Suneela Garg, Director Professor and Head (Community Medicine), Maulana Azad Medical College, said Delhi's latest sero-survey showed that 56 percent of the population had developed anti-bodies against coronavirus.

“The remaining 44 percent are still vulnerable... There is a need to quickly ramp up vaccination which will help in controlling the second wave,” she said.

The government must take strict steps to prevent overcrowding at public places, especially during festivals, while people should follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, Dr Garg said.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Tuesday ordered that there will be no public celebrations in the national capital for upcoming festivals such Holi and Navaratri.

Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev has directed authorities to ensure strict compliance of the order.

The positivity rate in Delhi has remained over 1 percent for four consecutive days, while active cases in the city rose to 4,411 on Tuesday.

There were 888 cases on Monday, 823 on Sunday, 813 on Saturday, 716 on Friday and 607 on Thursday, according to official data. PTI GVS RT RT