The weekend curfew in Delhi will stay for now, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal decided today after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government recommended lifting it in view of declining Covid cases.
The office of the Lieutenant Governor, it is learnt, has said that a decision on lifting weekend curfew will be taken once the pandemic situation improves further. He has also vetoed the recommendation to withdraw the odd-even rule of opening shops in markets.
The Lieutenant Governor, however, has agreed to the government’s recommendation to allow 50 per cent attendance in private offices.
Delhi on Thursday reported 12,306 new cases – a drop of 10.72 per cent over the previous 24 hours. There were, however, 43 confirmed deaths – the most since June last year, when 44 people had died.
Reported COVID-19 cases in the national capital have seen a marked decline over the past few days – from a peak of nearly 30,000 on January 14 to fewer than 13,000 yesterday.
The seven-day average of new cases has dropped from a high of over 23,000 to 16,000 yesterday.
However, the city still has nearly 70,000 active Covid cases and a positivity rate (the number of cases detected per 100 tests) greater than 20 per cent, both of which are cause for concern.
The silver lining is that of the active cases, over 53,000 are in home isolation, which reduces the burden placed on the national capital’s hospital infrastructure; nearly 13,000 beds in Covid care facilities remain vacant, leaving the city with wiggle room if faced with more severe infections.
To encourage testing and rapid identification of Covid cases, the Delhi government has also reduced rates of RT-PCR tests and RAT, or rapid antigen tests. The former is capped at ₹ 300 per test (down from ₹ 500) with home collection tests at ₹ 500, and the latter at ₹ 100 (down from ₹ 300).
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Sunday sought to allay fears over the declining number of tests being conducted, saying that, in fact, the city was conducting three times more than the number recommended by the ICMR, or Indian Council for Medical Research.
“Delhi has been conducting 60,000 to 1 lakh tests every day,” he said.
Meanwhile, this morning India reported over 3.47 lakh new cases in 24 hours – a nine per cent increase in 24 hours – with positivity rates at a worrying 18 per cent. Over 700 deaths were reported.