‘There is no lockdown in the Capital’

As weekend curfew begins, Delhi government allays fear of labourers, migrant workers

The Delhi government has assured labourers and migrant workers that the weekend curfew, which kicked in at 10 p.m. on Friday and will end at 5 a.m. on Monday, is not a lockdown.

“There is no lockdown in Delhi, and construction work will continue as usual. There is no reason for labourers and migrant workers to be concerned,” said Health Minister Satyendar Jain at a press briefing.

The number of new cases continued to surge with 17,335 cases being added to the tally on Friday along with nine deaths. The heath bulletin released by the Delhi government showed that 97,756 tests were conducted in a 24-hour period with a positivity rate of 17.73%.

On Thursday, the positivity rate was 15.34%. In the first week of January, 29 deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported in the city.

Mr. Jain told patients to visit hospital only if they have severe symptoms as treatment at home was possible and the period of home isolation had been reduced. “The period has been reduced to seven days. If the fever does not return within three days of the end of the seven-day period of home isolation, there is no need to test; you can return to work,” he said.

‘No cause for concern’

The Minister said there was no need to be concerned about the Omicron variant as experts have said that it is mild and less lethal and the best way to avoid getting infected is to wear a mask and practise social distancing.

As of Friday evening, out of the 13,312 hospital beds reserved for COVID-19 patients, 1,389 were occupied, with 286 patients on oxygen support and 31 on ventilator support. Of the 4,482 beds available at dedicated COVID Care Centres, 592 were occupied. The Capital now has 39,873 active cases, 20,695 of them in home isolation.

Presenting data to show that this wave has had milder infections, Mr. Jain said as of Thursday, Delhi had 31,498 active cases and only 1,091 hospital beds are occupied, while during the previous wave — when the Capital had an equal number of COVID-19 cases — around 7,000 beds were occupied.

“A total of 15,000 cases in a day would have meant 3,000 to 4,000 hospital admissions had this wave been driven by the Delta variant, but now there are more than enough beds available at hospitals,” Mr. Jain said.

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