Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said that the coronavirus positivity rate in the Capital has dipped by 5% in five days, attributing the decline to the measures taken by his government in the fight against the infection, reported the Hindustan Times.
“In the last few days, the positivity rate has dropped from 15% to 13% on November 17 and today on November 20, it is at 10.5%,” the chief minister said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. “So the positivity rate in Delhi has dropped by 5% in five days. This has given us hope that we may perhaps be past the peak of the third wave of infection that the city has been reeling under.”
The chief minister said that pollution was a leading factor in the Capital’s third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as contributing to the deaths. “Delhi has significantly reduced its own pollution levels, but we cannot control pollution which is spreading from other north Indian states,” Kejriwal said.
He further compared the coronavirus situation in Delhi to what New York in the United States witnessed in April. The chief minister said that Delhi’s health infrastructure did not collapse even during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic unlike other cities such as New York. He said that people could not find beds to get admitted to hospitals, were standing in a queue and the city’s health infrastructure had collapsed.
“In Delhi, you will not find people lying in corridors in hospitals dedicated to treating Covid-19 patients since we have been able to arrange the requisite number of beds,” he said, adding that the reason for the better condition of Delhi was because of doctors, nurses and the paramedic staff.
He also thanked the central government and NGOs and religious institutions for aiding in the fight against the coronavirus.
The chief minister said that the Delhi government was planning to implement a modern health information management system, which would have the information of all residents of the people on a cloud server. “All the mohalla clinic, polyclinic, all the government hospitals in Delhi would be connected with each other,” he said. “At the click of the button, you will know how many ICU [intensive care unit] beds, ventilators are available.” He said that people will be given an e-card to facilitate the management system, adding that it is likely to be completed in a year.
Kejriwal also said that the countrywide lockdown in India implemented in March helped his government prepare the health infrastructure needed to deal with the pandemic. “Lockdown was necessary,” the chief minister said. “We did not have enough information and resources to handle the pandemic. We got to prepare the infrastructure during that period.”
He further said that the Delhi government helped people during the lockdown, saying that people would have died of hunger. Kejriwal said that the government provided food rations to 1 crore people for two months, adding that it was being done for 70 crore currently.
The chief minister also spoke about the Congress, claiming that it was, as a national party, facing a consistent decline. “On an overall level, the Congress is collapsing or probably it has already collapsed,” he said. “We are seeing that state after state people have voted for the Congress instead of the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] during the elections but ultimately the Congress helps BJP successfully install their government. It is as if the elections are unfair.”
Kejriwal further said that several MLAs from Congress defect to the Bharatiya Janata Party and it did not matter if people voted for them as the saffron party is the one that ends up forming the government. He said that there was a need to find an alternative to the Congress at the national party, adding that the country will decide which party would be the possible choice. The chief minister said that it was unclear if regional parties can take on this challenge.
On his own Aam Aadmi Party, Kejriwal said that it was among the chief opposition parties in Punjab despite not having a strong presence outside Delhi. “People look at AAP with respect and admiration but it will be presumptuous at this point for me to take a call on what the Aam Aadmi Party can do at the national level,” he said.
The Delhi chief minister said that his party’s ability to bring change has given hope to many Indians, adding that the country will offer an alternative as it has done earlier.
Delhi is witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases. It reported 5,10,630 cases and the toll stood at 8,041 till Thursday, according to the Union health ministry data. Delhi on Wednesday also registered the highest number of deaths at 131 in a single day due to coronavirus, as the toll crossed the 5 lakh-mark.
The government has started to reinstate restrictions, starting with revising the limit on wedding guests from 200, which was imposed from November 1, to 50. The Kejriwal-led government also increased the fine for not wearing masks in the Capital to Rs 2,000 from Rs 500 to tackle the pandemic. The chief minister further urged political parties and religious and social organisations to distribute masks among people.