Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday said there was no community spread of the coronavirus in the national Capital for now, NDTV reported. Community spread or the third stage of the pandemic is declared when the source of the infection is not known.

Sisodia’s comments came after he attended a meeting with the State Disaster Management Authority and officials of the Delhi government to ascertain whether the city has entered the stage of community transmission. “Officers of central government were present at the meeting and they said that there is no community spread in Delhi as of now, so it need not be discussed,” Sisodia said, according to ANI.

However, earlier in the day, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain expressed concerns. He said that in almost 50% of cases in the Capital, the source of infection cannot be detected.

However, the health minister said that only the Centre can declare community spread in the Capital. “AIIMS [All India Institute of Medical Sciences] Director Randeep Guleria had said there is community transmission in Delhi, but the Centre has not accepted it yet,” Jain said. “We cannot declare it and the Centre has to declare it. Community spread is a technical term and it depends on the Centre whether they accept it or not.”

Delhi is one of the worst-affected regions in the country. Till Tuesday morning, it had reported 29,943 infections, including 874 deaths. The city has been reporting over 1,000 infections daily for several days now.

The deputy chief minister also said that there will be 44,000 cases in the Capital by June 15, adding that the case count will increase to 5.5 lakh by July 31. This will require the Capital to have 80,000 beds in hospitals, he added.

Jain had also made similar predictions when compared Delhi with Mumbai, the country’s worst-hit during the pandemic. “We are 10 days behind Mumbai in terms of the spreading of cases and in Delhi the number is increasing in the same proportion,” the health minister said. “It is expected that in Delhi we will reach 50,000 cases in the next 10 days.”

The Aam Aadmi Party leader also opposed Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s move to cancel the city government’s decision of reserving hospitals, except those run by the Centre, for Delhi residents only. “Under BJP’s [Bharatiya Janata Party] pressure, the lieutenant governor overturned the decision,” Jain said. “We will ask him if people in large numbers came from outside for treatment then where will people of Delhi go?”

Jain said they were expecting that the beds in private hospitals will cater to the patients at least for the next 15 days. “However, most of the beds reserved for Covid-19 patients have been taken up in last three to five days.”

Meanwhile, Baijal will hold an all-party meeting later in the day to discuss the escalating coronavirus crisis in the Capital.

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