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Covid tests in Delhi three times the number recommended by ICMR, says Satyendar Jain as city's positivity rate drops to 27.87 per cent

All those who need to undergo testing are being tested, he said. According to the Centre's new guidelines, asymptomatic patients do not need to undergo a test.

Published: 16th January 2022 09:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2022 10:17 PM   |  A+A-

Covid-19 infected patients inside the Covid Care Centre at Shahnai Banquet hall in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Photo | Parveen Negi/EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Sunday sought to allay concerns over "fewer" Covid tests being conducted in the national capital, saying the city is conducting three times more diagnostic tests than the number recommended by the ICMR.

All those who need to undergo testing are being tested, he said.

According to the Centre's new guidelines, asymptomatic patients do not need to undergo a test.

Also, contacts of laboratory confirmed COVID-19 patients need not get tested unless they have comorbidities or are aged above 60.

Jain said these new guidelines on testing have come after thoughtful consideration.

"Delhi has been conducting 60,000 to 1 lakh tests every day," he said.

The city is conducting three times more Covid tests than the number recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research, he added.

Delhi conducted 67,624 tests on Friday and 79,578 on Thursday.

On Thursday, the national capital reported 28,867 COVID-19 cases, the sharpest single-day spike since the beginning of the pandemic, after 98,832 tests were conducted the day before.

"Hospital admissions have plateaued and Covid positivity rate will also come down. Restrictions by the Delhi government have impacted the spread of COVID-19. We will monitor the situation for three to four days before reviewing the curbs," Jain said.

The minister said daily cases have decreased over the last three days.

Delhi is in a good shape at large, and the government is prepared to deal with even the most serious situations.

On the inoculation drive in Delhi, Jain said all eligible people have received their first dose of Covid vaccination, and 80 per cent of them have been fully vaccinated.

"People eligible for a booster dose should get it as soon as possible," he said.

So far, 2,85,63,384 Covid vaccine doses have been administered in Delhi.

This includes 1,65,05,977 first doses, 1,19,28,888 second doses and 1,28,519 'precaution' doses, according to official data.

On Saturday, Jain had said it seemed that the national capital had reached its peak of COVID-19 infections and the government would think of easing restrictions when the daily cases decline to 15,000.

Delhi on Saturday reported 20,718 COVID-19 cases and 30 fatalities, while the positivity rate stood at 30.64 per cent, according to health department data.

Amid a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, authorities in Delhi have stepped up efforts to ensure 100 per cent vaccination of the staff and the shopkeepers at markets across the national capital.

In several districts, the market associations have been asked to ensure that the shopkeepers and the other staff have received both doses of a Covid vaccine and to submit the certificates of the same at the respective district administration offices.

Two city markets -- Sarojini Nagar and the Janpath market -- have already been declared as fully-vaccinated markets by the district administration.

"Vaccination is the only thing that can save people from Covid. So it is crucial that everyone in a market, which has the potential of becoming a super spreader, is fully vaccinated. Instructions have been issued to the market associations to ensure the same and submit supportive documents to us at the earliest," an official in Southeast district told PTI.

Major markets where the associations have been asked to provide the details of the vaccination status and ensure 100 per cent vaccination of the employees include the Lajpat Nagar market, the Bengali market, the Kamla Nagar market, the Krishna Nagar market and the Rajouri Garden market.

The shopkeepers and vendors at the Lajpat Nagar market have been asked by the administration to submit the vaccination certificates of the shop owners and the staff.

Following the directions, the Traders Association Lajpat Nagar (TALN) has asked the shop owners to get their staff vaccinated and submit the supportive documents by Monday.

TALN general secretary Ashwani Marwah said they had several meetings with the district administration to come up with a practical implementation programme to ensure compliance with the DDMA guidelines on the weekend curfew, the odd-even opening of shops and the vaccination of the staff.

"We have been asked by the district administration to ensure that all the staff and the shop owners are double vaccinated. We have requested all our members to furnish documentary evidence in the form of the vaccination certificates of all the employees. We would collect the documents and submit those to the district magistrate (southeast) early next week," Marwah told PTI.

The Lajpat Nagar market is one of the most popular shopping destinations for Delhiites.

The market has nearly 800 shops with 4,500-5,000 employees.

Marwah said posters have been affixed at the entry gates of the shops declaring that the shop owners and the employees are double vaccinated.

"By next week, we plan to put up hoardings and banners, listing all the guidelines for the customers, visitors and the shop owners and briefing them on all protocols including vaccination," he added.

Marwah said the association is also circulating information related to testing centres and vaccination centres.

Announcements will be made requesting people to get themselves vaccinated against the viral disease, use face masks, maintain social distancing and keep washing their hands at frequent intervals, he said.

Similar instructions have also been issued to the shop owners at the Bengali market in New Delhi district.

The popular market, located close to Connaught Place in Lutyens Delhi, has more than 30 shops with approximately 200 people working there.

Bengali Market Association general secretary Pramod Gupta said the district administration has asked them to furnish the details of the vaccination status of all the employees at the market.

"They have asked us to ensure that all the staff and shop owners are double vaccinated. We have completed the process and submitted the supportive documents to the district magistrate's office a few days ago," Gupta said.

He said all precautions are being taken and the guidelines issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) with respect to COVID-19 are being followed in letter and spirit at the market.

A total of 99 inmates and 88 staff members in the jails of Delhi have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said on Sunday.

According to data shared by the jail authorities, 99 inmates had tested positive for the viral disease till January 14.

Seventeen of them have recuperated while there are 82 active cases.

Of the 88 prisons staff who have tested positive for Covid, 14 have recuperated while there are 74 active cases.

The Delhi Prisons department includes three major jail complexes -- Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli.

"There are no serious cases so far. Most of the cases are being managed by our jail doctors," Director General (Delhi Prisons) Sandeep Goel said.

As part of the steps taken to curb the spread of the disease in the Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini jail complexes, the prison dispensaries have been turned into Covid care centres.

An oxygen plant will also be made functional in Tihar soon, officials had said earlier.

Numerous medical isolation cells were set up for the inmates showing mild symptoms of Covid, they had said.

Those who test positive for the disease but are asymptomatic will be kept in these separate isolation cells.

A 120-bed hospital in Tihar and a 48-bed facility in Mandoli have been converted into Covid care centres.

The jail administration said four committees have been formed to look after the infected inmates and staffers.

Social distancing among the staff members and the inmates is being maintained to the extent possible.

The inmates are mostly restricted to their wards and awareness programmes on following Covid norms are being conducted regularly, the officials said.

Delhi on Sunday reported 18,286 COVID-19 cases and 28 deaths, while the positivity rate dropped to 27.87 per cent from 30.64 per cent a day ago, according to health department data.

On Saturday, Delhi reported 20,718 cases and 30 deaths.

The city saw 24,383 cases and 34 fatalities on Friday.

Only 65,621 tests were conducted on Saturday as compared to 67,624 on Friday and 79,578 on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain sought to allay concerns over "fewer" Covid tests being conducted in the national capital, saying the diagnostic tests being conducted in the city is three times the number recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

According to the Centre's new guidelines, asymptomatic patients do not need to undergo a test.

Also, contacts of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients need not get tested unless they have comorbidities or are aged above 60.

Jain said these new guidelines on testing have come after thoughtful consideration.

All those who need to undergo testing are being tested, he added.

He said hospital admissions have plateaued and Covid positivity rate will also come down.

"Restrictions by the Delhi government have impacted the spread of COVID-19. We will monitor the situation for three to four days before reviewing the curbs," Jain said.

On Thursday, the national capital reported 28,867 COVID-19 cases, the sharpest single-day spike since the beginning of the pandemic, after 98,832 tests were conducted the day before.

Delhi's previous biggest daily jump of 28,395 cases was recorded on April 20 last year.

On Wednesday, Delhi had logged 40 deaths, the highest since June 10 last year, when 44 fatalities were recorded.

According to government data, 2,591 Covid patients are in hospitals.

Of these, 123 patients are on ventilator support.

Of the 15,499 hospital beds for Covid patients, only 2,711 are occupied.

The capital has recorded 256 deaths due to the infection in January so far.

It saw 130 fatalities in the last six months -- nine in December, seven in November, four in October, five in September and 29 in August.

In July, Covid claimed 76 lives in the city.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Jain have repeatedly stressed that most deaths this time are due to comorbidities.

An analysis of 97 deaths that occurred between January 9 and January 12 showed that most of the patients had comorbidities.

Seventy of them were not vaccinated and 62 were aged below 60.

Jain had on Thursday said the number of hospital admissions has plateaued which indicates that the ongoing wave may have peaked and the cases may go down soon.



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