Covid cases rise in India: No need to panic, says Delhi minister

Testing to increase as hospitals advised to test all suspected virus cases


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Published: Thu 30 Mar 2023, 11:03 PM

Amid rising Covid cases in the national capital, Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj on Thursday said there was no need to panic as the government was closely tracking the situation.

Speaking to reporters after chairing an emergency meeting on the Covid situation in the Capital, on Thursday, Bhardwaj said "there is no need to panic as of now, but we are monitoring the situation."

He said, "There were indications of a rise in covid in Delhi also, as cases were increasing in other states. Yesterday, Kejriwal (CM) called and directed me to hold an emergency Covid review meeting. I chaired the meeting today. Health Department officials, virologists, DGHS and the entire team have handled Covid in Delhi so far."

He added, "The infection rate is definitely more than 10 per cent but the number of tests is very less. We will increase testing, as the situation demands. Hospitals are advised to test all suspected Covid patients."

"We have also been sending samples for genome sequencing and, so far, the situation is not worrying. Patients do not need to be hospitalised. Even 10 per cent of the oxygen that is available now is not being used." Bhardwaj added.

The minister informed, "We are not issuing any new advisory. The earlier advisory will be applicable. In the meeting, we said masks have to be made mandatory at hospitals. But there is no such proposal to make masks mandatory for all people. Currently, we are monitoring the situation in other states where Covid cases are increasing rapidly."

On whether the government was considering issuing a Covid alert, the Health minister said, "If the system is put on high alert for Covid, then other treatments will be affected. There is no such indication that warrants special steps to be taken for children. But doctors have advised the elderly and people woth comorbidities to take precautions, like wearing a mask."

On the vaccination drive in the country, Bhardwaj said, "Threre is still a lack of public awareness on the vaccination drive across the country. We will talk to the Central government if there's a need to increase awareness."

On whether an advisory should be issued for international passengers, Bhardwaj said, "As per central government guidelines, two per cent random testing is mandatory at the airport. We do not think the prevailing situation warrants us to increse it."

"Tomorrow, Kejriwal-ji will also hold a review meeting with the Health department. He will review the prevailing situation (in the Capital)," he added.


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