On Monday, when cases drop on account of fewer tests on the previous day, Delhi reported 484 fresh cases at a very high positivity rate of 26.6%, with more than a fourth of the 1,821 samples testing positive for Covid. Three deaths were recorded on the day. On Sunday, 699 fresh Covid-19 cases and four deaths were reported and the positivity rate touched 21.2% with 3,305 tests conducted across the city.
With Delhi being a densely populated city, Bharadwaj said the Covid cases were expected to rise in the next few days. “Cases may go up and more people will exhibit flu-like and influenza-like symptoms such as fever and cough. People with such symptoms should not venture out in public places. If at all you need to go to such places, wear a mask and observe other safety norms so that you don’t end up infecting others,” the minister said.
He added that those having weak immunity should especially avoid crowded places.
Reacting to the reports of four deaths on a single day, the minister said Covid was the primary reason only in one. It was incidental in three deaths as the victims were suffering with other diseases too. “Any death taking place is unfortunate. The Delhi government and its health department are on a high alert,” Bharadwaj said.
At least two states – Haryana and Kerala – and one Union territory, Puducherry, have made wearing masks in public places mandatory after a high number of Covid cases and test positivity rate crossing 10 per cent.
The test positivity rate in all revenue districts of the city crossed 10% last week. With a weekly positivity rate of 30.3%, the east district topped the chart followed by south (24.2%), northwest (22.5%) and central (21.8%).
The Delhi government is currently conducting around 3,000 tests per day. A senior health department official said the number of tests can be scaled up as and when the need arises. “The World Health Organisation says we should conduct 140 tests per million population per day but we are conducting more than that,” said the official, adding that the Delhi government was following the guidelines given by the Centre.
“The positivity rate is high right now because we are only conducting tests on people – relatives, friends and colleagues – of those who are Covid positive. Once the number of tests are increased, the positivity rate will automatically come down,” the official said.
A revenue department official confirmed that there were no specific instructions from the state government to increase random testing. “We have the testing facility available at all dispensaries in the area. When desired, we can immediately scale it up. We have the capacity to conduct one lakh tests per day at government and private facilities combined,” the official said.