India

Delhi Cases Could Peak In 48 Hours, Says Health Minister To NDTV

Delhi Cases Could Peak In 48 Hours, Says Health Minister To NDTV

Every fourth person getting tested for COVID-19 in Delhi is being found positive (AFP)

New Delhi:

Delhi is likely to hit a peak of COVID-19 cases "definitely this week" and infections in the third wave may start falling after that, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain has told. The national capital yesterday reported over 19,000 new cases, marginally lower than Sunday's 22,751.

On a question whether the Delhi government would consider weekend curfew again, the Health Minister said on Monday, "The peak has already arrived, or will come in a day or two. It (peak) will happen this week definitely. Cases should start falling after that. But it's possible we may enforce another curfew, just to remind people not to lower their guard."

Every fourth person getting tested in Delhi is turning out Covid positive. The positivity rate stood at 25 per cent yesterday, the highest since May 5 last year. The city also reported 17 deaths.

"Covid cases in Delhi are usually high because most international flights land here. Omicron spread faster in Delhi because of this reason only. A good sign is that hospitalisation is very low. Despite seeing around 20,000 daily cases, hospital occupancy is only 2,000 beds, while 12,000 beds for COVID-19 patients is unoccupied. In the last wave, when the city was seeing 20,000 cases a day, at least 12,000-13,000 beds were occupied," Mr Jain told.

"So bed occupancy is six times less now. It seems severity is less. Only 65 of the 2,000 admitted to hospitals are in ICUs (intensive care units)," the Health Minister said.

Delhi has recorded more Covid deaths in the first 10 days of this month than the total deaths in the last five months. Most of those who died had comorbidities - or other health problems - and were not vaccinated, government data shows.

India also began a booster shot campaign for frontline workers and vulnerable people aged 60 and above yesterday as the authorities grapple with a rapidly escalating pandemic driven by the Omicron variant.

Daily case numbers are approaching the enormous figures seen last year. Those who are 60 and above with pre-existing medical conditions, health professionals, and other essential workers are all eligible for a booster nine months after their second jab.