NEW DELHI, India

While India saw Monday its lowest daily cases for the last four months, critical care facilities in COVID-19 hospitals in the country’s capital New Delhi are almost occupied, official data showed.

Delhi is currently witnessing an upsurge in the new cases — last week saw a daily spike of over 8,000 cases for the first time — prompting authorities to take additional steps.

According to the Delhi government’s COVID-19 mobile app, of the total 1,332 COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds with ventilator support in hospitals, only 155 beds were available as of Monday evening. Similarly, out of total 2,195 ICU beds without ventilator support in hospitals, 1,973 were occupied.

“Currently, 90% of the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit beds are filled and over 500 patients are admitted in the 2,000-bed COVID-19 hospital,” Dr. Suresh Kumar, the medical director of Lok Nayak Hospital, told Anadolu Agency.

Blaming people for not following COVID-19 guidelines, Kumar said the number of infections is much higher due to the festival season. “A large number of people have come out of their homes and market places are overcrowded. People are not adhering to the guidelines listed by the authorities.”

With Delhi witnessing a massive spike in daily cases over the past two weeks, the Indian government on Sunday night announced a number of measures, including doubling of RT-PCR testing capacity, additional doctors and paramedical staff from the Indian paramilitary to be airlifted to New Delhi, house to house survey in the entire capital, and 250-300 additional beds with ICUs.

Delhi High Court last week said the virus has touched almost every household, local broadcaster NDTV reported. The court was pointing out the latest sero survey report released by the authorities in Delhi.

“The latest report has found that COVID-19 antibodies were present in 25% of the people tested,” the NDTV said.

However, there was a little breather on Sunday, as Delhi recorded 3,235 new COVID-19 cases — almost half of last week’s average of 7,000 cases per day.

Experts also say that number is expected to come down. “People have to follow the guidelines and they have to be responsible. We are hopeful that the number would come down in the coming days,” said Kumar.

Local residents say the situation is worrisome.

“We recently attended a wedding and after a few days, many of the family members tested positive. The situation is so scary because a lot of people are getting infected,” said Neha Dewan, a public relations professional, told Anadolu Agency.

Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who identified Friday the pollution as “one of the biggest factors” for the spike in COVID-19 infections on Sunday night, said that authorities will double the efforts to stem the virus’s spread.

“Delhi has shown before that we can overcome corona when we all work together. Centre, State govt, DRDO, ICMR will double their efforts n work together but we need support from all delhites. We can’t afford to be careless. We need all citizens to help by taking all precautions,” Kejriwal said on Twitter.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said Monday that the peak of Delhi’s third wave is gone and the authorities are not considering any lockdown in the national capital.

Lowest daily case count

India has reported less than 50,000 daily infections on Monday, registering the lowest daily cases in four months.

According to the Indian Health Ministry, 30,548 fresh COVID-19 infections were registered in the last 24 hours, taking the total mark to 8.84 million. The virus-linked deaths have reached 130,070, including 435 additional fatalities.

Dr. Kapil Yadav, a professor at the Centre for Community Medicine of All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, said focus should be on strengthening the health facilities.

“The answer to address the COVID-19 is Public sector health system strengthening. Now, we have available knowledge that it is a very low mortality disease,” Yadav said, and noted that the situation can be taken under control if new cases are tested in a timely manner, isolated, and monitored, and given due medical care.

He said the latest rise in cases is “driven by testing and contact tracing,” and added: “I don’t believe it’s the first, second, or third wave. I think it is a continuation of the earlier outbreak in Delhi.”

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