New Delhi, Aug 26 (PTI) COVID-19 tests in Delhi will be doubled to 40,000 per day within a week since there has been a 'marginal' increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the city, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday as the national capital recorded its highest daily spike in cases in the last 45 days.
The city recorded 1,693 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday taking its total caseload to 1,65,764. Seventeen fatalities in the last 24 hours pushed the death toll to 4,347.
The tally of active cases rose to 12,520 from 11,998 the previous day, as did the number of containment zones in the city, up from 654 on Tuesday to 716 on Wednesday.
Official data also shows a steady increase in the number of active cases since August 5, except on three days when the city recorded a marginal fall in instances of the viral disease compared to the previous day figures.
Delhi had 9,897 active cases on August 4, which rose to 10,072 the next day. Since then, the active caseload has been in five digits.
Addressing an online media briefing, the chief minister said it is not that the intensity of the infections had increased and asserted that the COVID-19 situation is completely under control.
Although there has been a marginal increase in cases in the last few days, the Delhi government will not allow the situation to deteriorate, Kejriwal said.
At present, 20,000 tests are being conducted in the city daily, he said, adding, 'We are going to double the tests to 40,000 tests daily within a week. Our strategy against the coronavirus will remain aggressive testing and isolation.' The chief minister appealed to the people to get tested if they have COVID-19-related symptoms and cautioned against complacency, which, he said, may lead to a rise in the number of cases.
'We are getting cases where seven to eight people from one family are infected, and this is because one person did not get tested for many days even after having symptoms and infected others.' 'So, if anyone suspects COVID-19 infection, he or she should immediately get tested at government hospitals and dispensaries free of cost,' he said.
Kejriwal informed the reporters that his government has issued directions for stringent enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines. Everyone should wear a face mask and maintain social distancing at public places, he added.
About the fluctuating figures in daily coronavirus tests in Delhi in August, experts pointed out that reduced fear of COVID-19 among the public coupled with festivities and heavy rains led to lesser number of people coming for tests.
Dr Manoj Sharma, Senior Consultant, Medicine and Incharge at Medeor Hospital Qutab Institutional Area, said, 'Earlier, there was a lot of panic and even for minor symptoms people were coming to hospitals. But now, they think that if they have minor symptoms, they will recover. There is also some taboo attached to it.' 'They think that authorities will paste a sticker outside their home and their neighbours will come to know,' he said.
Dr Alpana Razdaan, Lab Head at Genestrings Lab, concurred with Sharma, saying earlier the number of people coming for tests in a day was 350 but now it has come down to 170.
'The fear has reduced among people and those with mild symptoms feel they will recover. People will severe symptoms only come for tests,' she said.
According to government data, the number of tests in Delhi witnessed a decline in August compared to July. The authorities conducted over 2.58 lakh COVID-19 tests in Delhi between August 1 and 15, whereas the figure stood at over 3.13 lakh in the same period in July.
Between July 16 and 31, over 2.96 lakh tests were conducted in Delhi. Between August 16 and August 25, the total number of tests stood at over 1.71 lakh, while the figure between July 16 and July 25 was 1.92 lakh.
Kejriwal said his government has decided to provide oximeters and oxygen concentrators to those discharged from hospitals, in case they need those again.
A new trend has been noticed that even after a COVID-19 patient recovers and goes home, symptoms remain and the patient still suffers from low oxygen level and breathing issues, he said.
'A few patients have also lost their lives because of a fall in oxygen level. Our Health Minister Satyendar Jain had recovered from coronavirus, but took a few days to fully recover and get back to normal,' the CM added.
Asserting that the COVID-19 situation has been under control for the past one-and-a-half month and all the parameters were fine, he said, 'There has been a decrease in the number of daily deaths. Also, the recovery rate is over 90 per cent and the number of patients in hospitals has come down.' There was a time when the number of deaths was around 100, but now it is below 20 and on some days, it was even below 10. The government is working to ensure zero COVID-19 fatalities, he added. PTI KND SLB GVS BUN NSD NSD