Too early to say third wave has hit Delhi, but city could already be in that phase: Health minister
Delhi reported its biggest-single day jump of 5,673 infections on Wednesday, prompting concerns about a resurgence of the virus.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday said he thought it was too early to say if the record number of coronavirus cases reported in the Capital the previous day indicated the start of a third wave of infections, ANI reported. However, he said it was possible the city was “already in that phase”.
“It is too early to say that Delhi is experiencing the third wave,” Jain said. “We must wait for another week in order to definitively say that, but it is possible that we’re already in that phase.”
India’s coronavirus cases surpassed 80 lakh on Thursday with daily infections dipping to the lowest level this week, as concerns grew over the ongoing festival season and winter setting in. Its capital Delhi reported its biggest-single day jump of 5,673 infections on Wednesday, which took the Capital’s tally to 3,70,014, prompting concerns about a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.
The city has been recording an average of more than 4,000 for the past week. It logged 4,853 new coronavirus cases for the first time on Monday, and broke that record two days later.
But Jain claimed the steady rise in cases was expected, according to NDTV. He said the government had already changed its strategy to meet the challenge.
“This is the season of festivals and it has become slightly cold as well,” the health minister said as he went on to explain the government’s strategy. “We have made some changes to our strategy. Now, when a person tests positive, we also test his entire family and all his close contacts. We do this not just once but twice – the second time after 4 to 5 days.”
The aim is to ensure that not even a single case is missed, Jain said. He also wondered if the increased levels of testing in the Capital could be the reason why the numbers are rising sharply. “But it [testing] is the best strategy to contain this disease,” he added. “We’re hopeful that we will see good results soon. We have strengthened contact tracing as well.”
Earlier this month, a report prepared by the National Centre for Disease Control warned that Delhi should prepare for an increase of 15,000 daily coronavirus cases during the winter season. The government institute said that festive gatherings, seasonal illnesses and influx of patients from outside would add to the city’s tally.
The report was prepared under the guidance of an expert group headed by NITI Aayog member VK Paul. Last month, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had asked to prepare a revised plan to fight the pandemic.
But Jain had claimed the situation was under control on October 25. He argued that the number of daily cases recorded in the city were in and around 4,000, contrary to the government body’s estimates of 12,000-14,000 cases per day.