The ongoing festive season, onset of winter and an increase in air pollution are some of the reasons for a sudden spike in the cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the national capital, according to Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain. The Capital breached its record for the highest number of Covid-19 cases recorded in a day four times this week.
An alarmed home ministry has called a special review assembly with officials of the Delhi government to speak about the issue on Monday. On Tuesday, Delhi recorded 4,853 cases and on Wednesday it reported a record 5,673 Covid-19 cases. As many as 5,739 cases were recorded on Thursday and 5,891 infections and 47 deaths on Friday.
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“It’s a combined effect of the festive season, decrease in temperature and increased pollution. Experts had also suggested that at the moment Covid-19 cases could rise,” Jain said on Saturday, according to news agency ANI.
Delhi and the National Capital Region’s (NCR’s) pollution level has been a matter of concern for over a week now. The air quality index hovering dangerously near to the ‘severe’ zone up to now 10 days. On Thursday, a new umbrella agency used to be set up by the Centre to fight air pollution in the region.
Jain also listed carelessness of people as probably the most factors in the spike of Covid-19 cases. “People are giving less importance to wearing face masks. Masks can save us to a large extent from the winter pollution too,” he said. On Friday, Jain had urged Delhiites to imagine masks as a vaccine against the coronavirus disease. Encouraging people to wear masks all the time, he said, “When we had imposed the lockdown, cases did not go down. Whether 100 per cent of people wear masks, Covid-19 infection will also be controlled to a sure extent. Benefits of wearing masks are just as many as those of a lockdown, whether not more. Until there’s a vaccine, masks will have to be thought to be as vaccines.”
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The assembly called by the home ministry on Monday would be the Centre’s second such intervention to regulate the rising Sars-Cov-2 infections in Delhi. In July, Union home minister Amit Shah held meetings with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and other officials after which testing, contact tracing and sero-surveillance were ramped up in Delhi.
Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla will chair Monday’s assembly and Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul, and other senior central officials will be in attendance, people familiar with the matter told Hindustan Times.