At a meeting of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Friday, with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, who is DDMA chairman, asked the expert committee headed by Dr V K Paul of NITI Aayog to develop a Covid-19 management blueprint.
The focus will be on reviewing containment policy, unlock process, emergency steps and clinical management.
Panel to review if more activities can be allowed
Aggressive contact tracing in order to reduce the positivity rate and deaths will be one of the objectives.
Significantly, according to a source, the expert committee will also review whether Delhi is ready for permitting more economic activities or whether it needs to shut down some activities as an emergency measure to manage the surge.
The committee is likely to submit its report early next week and DDMA will be guided by the committee’s recommendations in taking decisions for Covid containment and mitigation. At a separate meeting with district officials, LG Baijal asked them to focus on active house-to-house surveillance with special focus on management of high-risk groups.
Delhi has been reporting more than 4,000 Covid positive cases every day since September 11 — except for one day (September 14) when it reported 3,229 cases — and many officials have attributed it to the multi-fold increase in testing in the past few weeks. On Friday, 4,127 new cases were reported with 30 deaths.
“Advised officials and experts to jointly prepare a blueprint for re-strategising containment zone policy to reduce positivity and mortality rates. Emphasised on aggressive IEC (information, education and communication) campaign particularly in vernacular languages to engage stakeholders for ensuring Covid appropriate behaviour,” the LG tweeted after the DDMA meeting, which was also attended by health minister Satyendar Jain, revenue minister Kailash Gahlot, chief secretary Vijay Dev and Dr Paul.
It was decided at the meeting that containing transmission, strengthening medical infrastructure, improving recovery of patients and reducing Covid-19 fatalities should be prioritised, considering the gravity of the situation.
The LG, at the other meeting, directed district magistrates, police and other officials to intensify surveillance, early detection and implementation of protocols for home isolation along with strict enforcement of protective and preventive measures.
“The district officials were asked to focus on proper delineation, strict perimeter control within containment zones and active house-to-house surveillance with special focus on management of highrisk groups,” a source said.
Improper Covid behaviour being displayed by many people in Delhi, who either do not wear masks or wear them improperly, was also raised at the meeting. An expert said such behaviour was detrimental to the government’s efforts. “Field officers were asked to strictly ensure social distancing measures, wearing of masks and hygienic practices and communicate extensively with the public about the pandemic,” said the source.
The DDMA also asked officials to shift weekly markets that are not located in large open spaces to sites where ensuring social distancing and enforcing other Covid-19 guidelines can be ensured.
Delhi currently has 32,250 active cases. The case fatality rate is 2.08%, recovery rate 84.41%, doubling rate 36.46 days and tests per million 1,24,715. In order to augment the ICU bed capacity, 33 private hospitals have been directed to reserve 80% of their total ICU/ HDU beds for Covid-19 patents. These private hospitals have been allowed to temporarily increase their total bed capacity up to 30% with the instruction to use the increased beds for Covid-19 patients only.