Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid in India: Delhi mulls weekend curfew as daily cases breach 17,000 mark

Web Report/New Delhi
Filed on April 15, 2021
Commuters stand in a queue outside a metro station in small groups as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 in Delhi. Photo: AFP

Chief minister to meet officials to tackle Covid surge.

With Delhi witnessing the biggest single-day jump in Covid cases, which breached 17,000 new cases on Wednesday, officials are planning a weekend curfew in the national capital. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is meeting Lt Governor Anil Baijal in the afternoon, where the decision is likely to be taken.

Kejriwal will also meet other senior officials to tackle the Covid surge in the capital. Total infection caseload in Delhi touched 767,4328, with more than 50,000 active cases so far. And with 104 deaths in the last 24 hours, the overall toll is now at 11,540.

Public hospitals in the city are packed with patients seeking admissions. Many of them have to wait for hours outside the hospitals, and many do not even wear masks. A senior doctor at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute said the death count was high as people were reporting to hospitals at a late stage. But patients also complain that there is an acute shortage of hospital beds in and around the capital now.

The past fortnight has been the worst for the capital, with a nearly 590% increase in new cases. Delhi’s active cases are now over 50,000, the highest for it. The test positivity rate was 15.92%, higher than the previous two waves in the city.

There are also fears that the cases may shoot up as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who are in Haridwar for the Kumbh Mela, start returning home. Many of them have to pass through Delhi on their way back home in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and other states. With millions attending the event in Haridwar, Covid-19 norms are being blatantly violated, giving rise to fears of a massive spurt in the disease over the coming days.

With the number of patients succumbing to Covid also growing sharply in Delhi, many of the crematoriums in the national capital are also facing an acute shortage of space. At the biggest such facility near the ITO, an excavator was busy digging up space to accommodate more bodies on Thursday morning. A caretaker at a graveyard told a journalist that it is now handling 17 bodies a day, as against just one or two in the past. “We have space for just 90 more bodies and in 10 days will run out of space,” he said.

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