Take all necessary steps to prevent any rise in COVID cases in Delhi: LG Baijal to authorities

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Monday directed the authorities to take steps to prevent a rise in COVID-19 cases in the city, including arrangements for people arriving from Maharashtra and other states that are witnessing a surge in new infections, sources said.

The LG also said there should be no lowering of guard against the coronavirus, they added.

Chairing a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) here, Baijal directed officials to speed up the ongoing vaccination drive in the city and ensure the current levels of RT-PCR testing and tracking are sustained.

The national capital, which has witnessed three waves of the coronavirus, has not reported any surge in COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks.

'In view of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, Kerala and other states, the LG has directed authorities to take all necessary steps to prevent any rise in virus cases in Delhi and that there should be no lowering of guard against coronavirus in the city,' a source said.

The sources said the authorities are also exploring options to make RT-PCR test mandatory for those who are coming to Delhi from majorly-affected states, but no decision has been taken on it yet.

The country has recorded a steady rise in the number of COVID-19 active cases over the past few days with a surge in daily infections in five states -- Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab -- and Jammu and Kashmir, prompting the Centre to direct them to refocus on strict surveillance, containment and RT-PCR testing.

On Monday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Chief Secretary Vijay Dev and senior officers of the Delhi government attended the DDMA meeting.

It was decided at the meeting that public buses and metro trains in the national capital would run at their current limited capacities for at least two more weeks, the sources said.

'Delhi Metro trains and public buses will run at previously fixed limited capacities for now. It is a vigilant wait-and-watch for another two weeks,' a source said.

Last week, the Delhi Transport department had sent a proposal to the DDMA to allow people to travel standing up in public buses.

DTC and cluster buses are currently plying at full seating capacity in the national capital, with standing of passengers during travel not being allowed.

In metro trains, commuters can sit on alternate seats, leaving a seat vacant in between. Also, standing riders have to maintain a stipulated distance from one another, thus further reducing the carrying capacity of a coach.

Delhi recorded 128 new COVID-19 cases and one fatality on Monday, even as the positivity rate stood at 0.30 per cent.

With the latest update in figures, the authorities said, the overall death toll rose to 10,901 and the number of cases went up to 6,38,028.

The 128 new cases came out of 42,242 tests -- including 31,234 RT-PCR tests and 11,008 rapid antigen tests -- conducted on Sunday, a health bulletin said.

The number of active cases stands at 1,041, it showed. PTI VIT BUN IJT