There is no community spread of coronavirus in Delhi according to central officials, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said even as his cabinet colleague expressed concern about the capital entering the phase with more and more cases that cannot be traced to any source.
“On community spread in Delhi, central government officials said it has not happened yet,” Manish Sisodia said after a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain had said just before the meeting that half the coronavirus cases in Delhi cannot be traced to any source.
“We say community spread when people don’t know how they got the infection. There are many cases. In 50 per cent of the cases in Delhi, the source of infection is not known,” Mr Jain told reporters before the meeting at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s home.
Community spread, or the third stage of a pandemic, is when it is difficult to trace the source of infection.
To questions on whether Delhi was on this stage, the Health Minister said only the central government could declare community spread.
“AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria had said there is community transmission in Delhi but the centre has not accepted it yet. We cannot declare it and the centre has to declare it. Community spread is a technical term and it depends on the Centre whether they accept it or not. There are four stages in epidemiology in which the third stage is the community spread,” Mr Jain said.
There are close to 30,000 COVID-19 cases in Delhi and the minister said the city is not far behind Mumbai, the country’s worst-hit.
“We are 10 days behind Mumbai in terms of the spreading of cases and in Delhi the number is increasing in the same proportion. It is expected that in Delhi we will reach 50,000 cases in the next 10 days,” said Mr Jain.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) minister hit out at the Lieutenant Governor’s move to cancel the city government’s decision to reserve hospitals except for those run by the centre for Delhi residents.
“Under BJP’s pressure, the Lieutenant Governor overturned the decision. We will ask him if people in large numbers came from outside for treatment then where will people of Delhi go?” the minister asked.
“We were expecting that the beds in private hospitals would cater to patients up to 15 days. However, most of the beds reserved for COVID-19 patients have been taken up in last three to five days.”