Delhi is expected to record fewer than 25,000 Covid cases today – less than the nearly 30,000 reported yesterday – Health Minister Satyendra Jain said late last night. Mr Jain also told reporters only 15 per cent of available hospital beds were occupied and that admissions had slowed.
“This is an indication that the wave has plateaued,” the Health Minister said, confirming that there are no plans to impose new curbs ahead of the weekend curfew that will kick in at 10 pm.
“Last night, Delhi reported 28,867 new cases, 31 fatalities… but over 13,000 hospital beds are vacant, just over 15 per cent of beds are occupied. We are expecting the city will report around 25,000 new COVID-19 cases today,” Mr Jain was quoted by news agency PTI.
“Hospital admissions in the city have become stagnant… which is a good sign. The positivity rate keeps on changing but the main factor is hospital admissions,” he said.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal this morning said: “There is no need to panic. Cases have risen but hospitalisation and deaths are low. We have made all preparations. There is no shortage of beds.”
On Thursday the national capital reported a record 28,867 cases in 24 hours – the most in a day since the pandemic began in December 2019. Yesterday’s positivity rate – 29 per cent – was also the highest since May 3 last year, when the country was battling the second wave of infections.
On Wednesday the city reported 27,561 new cases in 24 hours.
The number of Covid containment zones in the city saw a massive 17-fold increase this month, PTI reported, rising from 1,243 on January 1 to 20,878 on January 12.
Earlier this week Mr Jain said restrictions in Delhi, which include shutting of restaurants and bars (only deliveries and takeaways are allowed), ordering a weekend curfew, and directing non-essential private companies to WFH, could be lifted over the next two or three days if new cases declined.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a virtual meeting of chief ministers attended by the heads of the Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, and Assam governments, among others.
After the meeting the Prime Minister reminded people to get vaccinated (and asked those eligible to get the precautionary dose as well) as the country enters the third year of its Covid battle.
The PM’s message comes amid a massive spike in cases across the country triggered, in part, by the spread of the Omicron strain, which is much more transmissible than the Delta variant.
“We have to stay alert, but we also need to be aware that there’s no need to panic. We have to be careful amid this festive season,” he said, underlining the need to also keep the economy running.
This morning the country reported over 2.64 lakh new cases in 24 hours – a 6.7 per cent increase from the day before. The number of confirmed Omicron cases increased by 4.83 per cent to 5,753.
Delhi has reported 549 Omicron cases so far – three were added to that count yesterday.
The national active caseload has increased to more than 12.72 lakh – the highest in 220 days – while in Delhi there are over 94,000 active Covid cases right now.
With input from PTI