'Possible We're Already There': Delhi Health Minister Says 3rd Covid-19 Wave in Capital Can't be Ruled Out

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Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain said on Thursday that it is too early to say if the record one-day spike of over 5,600 cases in the national capital suggests the start of a third wave of coronavirus but added that the possibility could not be ruled out.

"It is too early to say that Delhi is experiencing the third wave of Covid-19 cases. We must wait for another week in order to definitively say that, but it possible that we're already in that phase," Jain, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Amid the festive season and increasing pollution levels, Delhi on Wednesday witnessed more than 5,600 Covid-19 cases for the first time, with the city is recording a sudden spike in daily incidences in the past few days.

Jain said that the Delhi government has changed its Covid-19 testing strategy to include family members and close contacts of Covid-19 positive patients and attributed the sudden uptick in cases to the increased testing efforts.

"Delhi reported 5,673 Covid-19 cases and 40 deaths yesterday. We have over 10,000 beds vacant with us and over 5,000 beds are occupied. Ahead of the festive and winter season, we have changed our strategy, we are testing family members and close contacts of Covid-19 positive patients," he told ANI.

Notably, the sudden spike in cases comes amid the festive season and rising pollution level. While Durga Puja celebrations ended on October 25, the next festival is Diwali and Chhath in November. On Thursday, with the increase of pollutants in the atmosphere and decline in wind speed, air quality in the national capital deteriorated to 'very poor' category on Thursday morning.

As per Delhi Pollution Control Committee data, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is at 376 in RK Puram, 384 in ITO, 311 in Lodhi Road, 387 in Punjabi Bagh- all four in the 'very poor' category while AQI in Jahangirpuri, Anand Vihar entered 'severe' category and was recorded at 420 and 401 respectively.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Delhi government announced that all schools will continue to be closed till further orders in view of the coronavirus situation. Meanwhile, India’s Covid-19 tally crossed the 80-lakh mark on Thursday with 49,881 additional cases, while the recoveries have surged to 73.15 lakh pushing the national recovery rate to 90.99 percent, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

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