India's Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has expressed concern over increasing cases and deaths due to Covid-19 in Delhi, stressing that the national capital needs to ramp up testing coupled with aggressive surveillance, contact tracing and stringent containment and perimeter control activities.
Chairing a high-level meeting with Delhi LG Anil Baijal, Health Minister Satyendra Jain and senior Delhi government officials through video conferencing on June 4, 2020, Dr Vardhan pointed out that while the average testing/million population in Delhi was 2018, some districts such as north east (517 tests/million population) and South east (506 tests/million population) were far below. While the UT’s positivity rate of last week was 25.7%, several districts reported figures above 38%, he added.
Expressing concern over the high rate of infection in the health care workers in Delhi hospitals, he said that this indicates poor infection prevention control practices in health care settings and needs to be attended to on priority.
He said that there is the immediate need and importance of scaling up of testing with health infrastructure enhancements along with better clinical management of the Covid-19 cases for effective case management and reduction of fatality rate. He also pointed out that bed availability was to be rapidly increased in view of current rapid rise of cases along with avoiding unnecessary delay in admission of cases.
“As a significant proportion are on home isolation, all efforts for timely response in terms of testing, triaging and shifting of patients to the required level of dedicated Covid facility is important to avoid mortality”, he stated.
He said that while some issues such as the density of population in many containment zones did pose a serious challenge to the collective efforts of the administration, it was important to pool in resources and experiences for a convergent action.
The DMs and officials of Municipal Corporations briefed the health minister that people seem to be getting complacent with following the norms regarding physical distancing during the unlock 1.0 period. This was a major factor contributing to the new surge in cases, they stated.