Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday urged the Centre to cancel board exams citing yet another record rise in coronavirus cases in the Capital. The chief minister said he had received a report that the city has recorded 13,500 new infections in 24 hours.

“Conducting board exams can lead to large-scale spread of coronavirus, alternative methods of assessment can be explored,” Kejriwal said during a video address. “Students can be promoted on basis of either online exams or internal assessment.”

The Aam Aadmi Party chief warned that the exam centres could emerge as major hotspots. “Six lakh children in Delhi are going to write CBSE [Central Board of Secondary Education] exams,” he added. “Nearly one lakh teachers will be a part of it. Children’s lives and health are very important to us. I request the Centre to cancel the CBSE exams.”

The CBSE board exams will be held in an offline mode from May 4 to June 7 for Class 10 and from May 4 to June 15 for Class 12. Students as well as Opposition leaders have urged the Narendra Modi government to cancel the exams given the surge in coronavirus cases.

Kejriwal said the daily coronavirus cases in the city have been increasing rapidly. “During the peak in November, 8,500 cases were reported, compared to that we are already reporting 13,500 cases,” he said.

Calling the new wave “very dangerous”, he stated that 65% of the patients are below the age of 45. Kejriwal has repeatedly urged the Centre to allow those below 45 to get vaccinated at the earliest, adding that the current wave is worse than the one in November.

He urged the youth to step out of their houses only when it’s absolutely necessary. “I also appeal to the youth that when you do step out, do so only after wearing a mask and following Covid-19 protocols,” the chief minister said.

He added that Delhi has very little stock of plasma left to meet the rising demand. “Over the past few months there have been fewer cases so there are fewer eligible donors,” he said.

Delhi on Monday reported 11,491 new coronavirus cases – its highest ever one-day rise in infections since March last year. The Capital’s total count of infections since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 rose to 7,36,688. The positivity rate rose to 12.44% from 9.43% on Sunday. The city also recorded 72 deaths, taking the toll to 11,355. The 72 deaths are the highest since December 5.

After a meeting, Kejriwal’s office had announced that 14 private hospitals and four government facilities would be completely dedicated to coronavirus treatment in Delhi. The health department also said the number of Intensive Care Unit beds without ventilator in six Delhi government-run hospitals has been increased to 487.

On Tuesday, India recorded 1,61,736 new cases of the coronavirus, taking the country’s overall tally of infections since the pandemic broke out in March 2020 to 1,36,89,453. The toll rose to 1,71,058 with 879 deaths in the last 24 hours. India has 12.64 lakh active cases as of Tuesday.