Delhi Reeling Under Third Wave of Covid-19; Cases Should Drop Soon: Health Minister Jain

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The national capital is currently reeling under the "third wave" of the COVID-19 infection, but cases should begin to come down soon, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Saturday. Interacting with reporters, he also said that the Delhi government has filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court after the high court did not allow reserving 80 per cent ICU beds for COVID-19 patients at several private hospitals here.

Delhi's COVID-19 tally increased to 4,23,831 on Friday after the national capital for the first time recorded over 7,000 coronavirus cases. The 7,178 fresh cases came out of the 58,860 tests conducted on Thursday, while the positivity rate on Friday stood at12.19 per cent amid the festive season and rising pollution in the city, according to a bulletin issued by the Delhi health department. The previous highest single-day spike till date here — 6,842 cases — was recorded on Wednesday.

The number of daily cases had crossed the 6000-mark for three consecutive days from November 3-5. Sixty-four new fatalities were recorded, pushing the death toll in the national capital to 6,833 on Friday. Sixty-six fatalities were reported from COVID-19 on Thursday.

Health Minister Jain said, "Yesterday, we issued an order to add 1,185 beds for COVID patients in both Delhi government hospitals and many private hospitals." "Five hundred beds are to be augmented at city government-run COVID facilities, including 110 ICU beds," he said. Asked about the spike in cases, Jain said, Delhi had seen first wave around June 23, second wave around September 17 and this is now the third wave of COVID-19 infection, and case should begin to come down as it has been a spell of rising cases in the last five to six days.

"Also, we had made preparations and issued orders to reserve 80 per cent ICU beds at many private hospitals, but the high court has stopped that, so we have filed an SLP in the Supreme Court," he added. Asked about the factors behind the third wave of the coronavirus infection in Delhi, he said among other factors, it could be because of easing of restrictions and the "festive season", while reiterating the importance of wearing masks.

"Many people are going the market to shop because it is a festival season. Markets are crowded in many places…there are many reasons," Jain said. He again appealed to Delhiites to treat wearing masks as a vaccine, till the real medication is developed.

On rising level of pollution and rising cases of COVID-19 in Delhi, he said pollution is not the cause of it. "But both are dangerous. The biggest reason for the increase in infections is our lax behavior. If we do not wear masks, don't follow social distancing, then it is the main reason for the surge," Jain said.

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