Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday denied that Covid-19 had reached the community transmission stage in Delhi, saying deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s claim of 5.5 lakh cases in the Capital by July-end had led to fear.
In an interview to news agency ANI, Shah said: “Around the second week of June, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that by July 31 there will be 5.5 lakh persons infected with the virus. He said that there will be no place left, no beds left and the situation will be difficult. This created a lot of fear in the minds of people in Delhi and some started planning an exodus too.”
Early in June, after a meeting of the state disaster management authority, Sisodia had said: "Till June 15, there will be 44,000 COVID-19 cases and we would need 6,600 beds. We would hit one lakh cases and would require 15,000 beds by June 30. There will be around 2.25 lakh cases till July 15 and COVID-19 cases will reach around 5.5 lakh by July 31.”
Shah, however, disagreed with the prediction. "I can say now with confidence that situation of 5.5 lakh cases will not come on July 31," he said.
The minister also said a series of steps had been taken to contain the virus and multi-agency meetings had been held to improve coordination at various levels, stressing that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was in the loop about all efforts.
When asked about the difference of opinion between the Delhi government and the Centre over community transmission of Covid-19 in Delhi, Shah said: "I have talked to three senior-most officials - Dr Paul (from Niti Aayog), IMCR chief Dr Bhargava and Dr Guleria (AIIMS New Delhi Director). This situation has not come to Delhi. Such situation appeared because of the total tests done, earlier 30 per cent turned out to be positive and that was happening because tests were done at the last moment. Now that we have started doing 20,000 tests on average, this condition is not there. I have held technical discussions on this…today this situation is not there in Delhi. There is no need to fear.”
Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Jain said earlier in the month that the onus was on the Centre to declare community transmission. “There is transmission in the community. But whether it is community transmission or not can be declared by the Centre only,” said Jain. In the interview, Shah also referred to Delhi government's decision about hospitals reserving COVID-19 beds only for residents of the national capital and said it was reversed. The Home Minister said even he is from outside Delhi. "Where will I go, if something happens to me. Delhi is the capital of the country. And people from different states stay here, come and go," he said, adding that a lot of people from neighbouring states stay in Delhi.
He added that shortcomings came to attention in the meetings he held about the Covid situation in Delhi and it was decided that every house in containment zone in Delhi will be surveyed by June 30. The minister said that testing was also ramped up.