Delhi govt changed strategy on contact tracing & testing, leading to rise in cases: Jain

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New Delhi, Oct 29 (PTI) Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday said the AAP government has changed its strategy by conducting aggressive tracing and testing in the city, attributing it as one of the reasons for a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in the past few days.

Jain said that it would be too early to say if this was the 'third wave' of fresh coronavirus cases, adding that it may be 'third wave', but one one should wait for one week to see trends.

Amid the festive season and rising pollution levels, Delhi on Wednesday recorded over 5,600 COVID-19 cases for the first time, with the national capital witnessing a surge in daily cases.

Talking to reporters about the new strategy which, he claimed, would be the 'best strategy' to contain the virus, Jain said the Delhi government has started conducting aggressive tracing and testing of all family members and close contacts of those found infected with the novel coronavirus.

'And, we are at times, testing them twice after a gap of 4-5 days. We don't want to leave any positive case...we have changed our strategy that's why the number of cases has gone up. I believe that this strategy would be successful,' Jain said.

Asked if the government was not conducting tests earlier on the family members of those found positive for COVID-19, the health minister said that authorities would conduct test only those who had coronavirus-like symptoms.

'Our main focus is that not a single (COVID-19) case should be left for testing. You can see a rise in number of cases, but it is a good strategy and its results should be seen soon,' he said.

On being asked about the figure of 15,000 cases per day projected by experts in coming months, Jain said, 'Figures have been projected by experts on surge in daily COVID-19 cases, but it may not reach that level. However, we want to be fully prepared.' As per the Wednesday bulletin, 5,665 beds were occupied and 10,100 still vacant in COVID-19 hospitals, Jain said.

He said that the number of RT-PCR tests, which are considered the gold standard for COVID-19 testing, is also going up in the national capital.

Officials cited some reasons -- festive season, cold, increase in RT-PCR testing and complacency in following anti coronavirus measures -- for the spike in cases.

Jain said that the situation of death due to COVID-19 is fine as of now in the national capital.

According to the health bulletin released on Wednesday, 40 deaths were reported, while 44 deaths were recorded on Tuesday, 54 deaths on Monday and 33 deaths on Sunday.

'Day-wise fatality is one thing, but if we look at the moving average of 10 days, death rate is 0.99 per cent and overall case fatality rate is 1.73 per cent,' Jain said.

On the resident doctors association of LNJP Hospital requesting resumption of non-COVID-19 services, Jain said, 'We will look into that after Diwali'.

On Wednesday, 5,673 fresh cases came out of the 60,571 tests conducted the previous day, with the Delhi government scaling up RT-PCR tests, whose count stood at 17,284.

This is the first time when the number of daily cases in Delhi has crossed the 5,000-mark. The previous highest single-day spike of 4,853 cases was recorded on Tuesday.

The number of fresh cases recorded on Monday stood at 2,832, and 4,136 on Sunday, while the figures were 4,116 on Saturday and 4,086 on Friday. The active cases tally on Wednesday rose to 29,378 from 27,873 the previous day, according to the bulletin. It said that the total number of cases has climbed to 3,70,014. PTI KND BUN AAR AAR