Kejriwal warns COVID situation dire as capital records highest ever infections

New Delhi: The COVID-19 situation in Delhi is “very serious” with 10,732 cases of infection reported in the last 24 hours, the highest ever since the pandemic began, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Sunday as he issued a stark warning — do not step out of homes unless it is urgent.

 “The fourth wave is more dangerous than the previous wave. The government is closely monitoring the situation,” Kejriwal told a press conference.

In just a few weeks, Delhi has gone from near normalcy — with less than 100 cases reported on a single day on February 16, to an exploding pandemic, a grim reminder that the virus is contributing to extract its toll. 

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Kejriwal said the current fourth wave of the pandemic in the city is “very dangerous” and is spreading at such a rapid rate that it has left many people baffled.

“Cases have escalated in a big way in the last 10-15 days. And, in the past 24 hours, the city has recorded 10,732 cases. The situation is very serious. 

This is the highest single-day spike in Delhi since the outbreak of coronavirus. The previous highest ever single-day spike in Delhi — 8,593 cases — was reported on November 11, 2020. That day, the city had recorded 131 COVID-19 deaths, the highest single-day fatality count till date.

The chief minister said that his government does not want to impose lockdown in Delhi but such a situation may arise if there is a rush to the hospitals and beds are unavailable for serious patients.

“We need your cooperation. If your cooperation is received and situation of hospitals is under control, there will be no need to impose lockdown in Delhi. But, if beds in the hospitals fell short and are unavailable, then lockdown may have to be imposed,” he said.

He said lockdown should be imposed by any government only when its hospital system has collapsed.

“I am not in favour of lockdown. I believe lockdown is not a solution to deal with COVID-19. It should be imposed if hospital system collapses,” he said.

He, however, asked people to remain in home isolation if infected with the virus instead of rushing to hospitals, saying the most important thing is that hospital beds are kept vacant for serious patients.

He said that there was a peculiar contradiction that despite vaccine availability in the country, coronavirus was spreading fast.

“As per data available with me, 65 per cent COVID-19 patients are below 45 years. How will coronavirus stop when 65 per cent of affected are below 45 years for whom there is no vaccination,” he said.

Kejriwal said that in a recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi 2-3 chief ministers requested restrictions on vaccination to be lifted.

“Our government is ready to vaccinate people door to door. The time is to launch vaccination at a war footing lifting restrictions of age and setting up vaccination centres.” 

He said that experts say that despite receiving vaccine, people may get infected with COVID-19 but they will not be seriously ill.

So, people need to wear masks and observe all the precautions even after getting vaccinated, he said.

Kejriwal asked all political parties to work together to fight coronavirus spread, saying it was not time to do politics and point fingers. 

He also appealed the religious and social organisations and NGOs to contribute in the fight against the virus and check its spread.

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