Health Minister expresses concern over rise in positive cases in Delhi

Comparing the COVID trajectory of Delhi with that of the country, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan pointed out that as against the national case fatality rate of 1.49%, Delhi continues to have a fatality rate of 1.71%.

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File Photo-Dr Harsh Vardhan.
New Delhi: During his virtual interaction with Anil Baijal, Lt. Governor, Delhi and Satyendra Kumar Jain, Delhi Health Minister on 5th November, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan expressed concern over the COVID-19 situation in Delhi.
Comparing the COVID trajectory of Delhi with that of the country, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “The recovery rate of India is currently more than 92% while that of Delhi is 89%. Against a national case fatality rate of 1.49%, Delhi continues to have a fatality rate of 1.71%.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan expressed particular concern over the surge in a number of cases and the high positivity rate in the North, Central, North East, East, North West and South East districts of Delhi. The Union Minister was also informed in this respect that Delhi continues to have a highly skewed RAT to RT-PCR ratio – 77% of the tests are RAT based while RT-PCR comprises only 23% of the total tests. Noting that false-negative results might give way to complacency among the COVID infected, he pressed for mandatory testing of all RAT negative persons if they develop ILI/SARI symptoms afterward.
Lauding Prime Minister, Narendra Modi for starting the Jan Andolan to make the last citizen aware of the virtues of wearing masks, physical distancing, and handwashing, Dr. Harsh Vardhan highlighted that the whole government approach has helped the country curb the COVID crisis effectively. In this regard, he detailed about the role of scientists for repurposing drugs for use in COVID and formation of bio-repository of such drug candidates. He urged the officers to instill COVID-appropriate behavior among the masses and blunt the momentum of the infectious disease by the end of the year so that it loses its potency. He also reiterated the government’s commitment to vaccinate 20-25 Crore citizens including those involved in frontline healthcare by mid-2021.
Dr. Sujeet Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) apprised everybody present on the trajectory of COVID in the various districts of Delhi. He also presented a micro-analysis of COVID deaths in the various hospitals of Delhi. He cautioned the State health authorities to be alert in the forthcoming festive and winter season and requested for the formation of a committee of medical experts for better clinical management of COVID patients.
Mr Anil Baijal noted that the Delhi administration has been cautioned by experts about possible surges because of the ongoing festive season and facilitation of inter-state transport. He expressed hope that the IEC campaigns would be successful in changing public behaviour towards COVID. He also informed that the administration is working to inculcate changes in Standard Operating Procedures for more efficient containment of the disease spread.
Mr SatyendarJain requested the Centre to increase the number of ICU beds in AIIMS New Delhi and other Central Hospitals to augment the present capacity which has come under strain.
Mr Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary noted that effective contact tracing is achieved by not only by tracing a large number of contacts but also by completing the exercise within the first 72 hours itself. He requested the Delhi Administration to shift patients requiring critical care to the Defence Medical Hospital Facility in Dhaula-Kuan that has provision for 125 ICU beds.
The meeting was held in the presence of senior officials, Mayors, Municipal Commissioners and District Magistrates of Delhi. Mr Vijay Kumar Dev, Chief Secretary, Delhi attended the meeting virtually from his office. Ms Arti Ahuja, Addl. Secretary (Health) and other senior officials of the Ministry were also present in the meeting.