The total number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi rose to 3,314 on Tuesday, even as 201 coronavirus patients recovered from the disease, the highest so far in a day with no fatalities, authorities said. No death was reported for the third consecutive day in the national capital. Among the 3,314 cases includes a Delhi Police constable attached to the crime branch.
The constable had visited the Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation in Nizamuddin, which had last month become the epicentre of the COVID-19 spread. Fifteen members of the crime branch team, who came in touch with the constable, have been advised home quarantine.
So far, 1,078 COVID-19 patients have recovered and there are 2,182 active cases in Delhi. The number of containment zones in the city reached 100. To curb the COVID-19 spread, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal directed all district magistrates to implement a "micro-containment zone strategy" in their respective areas.
Under this plan, small clusters reporting cases of the deadly virus will be identified and declared containment zones instead of big ones, officials said. The move comes after several COVID-19 cases were reported in some containment zones, including in Jahangirpuri, where people were seen moving around and meeting each other on the streets despite the lockdown.
At present, authorities block the entry and exit points of an area where COVID-19 cases emerge and people are not allowed to step out of their houses. Essential items are delivered at their doorsteps. "It was observed that people in some containment zones are roaming on streets and meeting each other.
"DMs have been directed to implement 'micro-containment zone strategy', under which small clusters will be formed and declared containment zones so that there is strictly no movement of people," the official told PTI. Earlier this month, 31 members of an extended family in north Delhi's Jahangirpuri contracted the disease despite the area being declared a containment zone.
Delhi has already announced implementation of the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines of easing the lockdown. This includes opening of standalone neighbourhood shops, permitting services provided by self-employed people like electrician, IT repairs, plumbers and carpenters and water-purifier service men.
The Union Health Ministry said the plasma therapy for treatment of coronavirus patients is at an experimental stage and it has the potential to cause life-threatening complications, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday, warning against its use. The plasma therapy was being used by the Delhi government on an experimental basis.
There was no immediate reaction by the Delhi government on the Health Ministry's comments against the use of plasma therapy. Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said the ministry's statement is "inaccurate".
"No Evidence To Support Plasma Therapy As COVID-19 Treatment": Government - this is a very inaccurate statement given the amount of global data that is available on its efficacy It is saving lives. Pls don't stop this," she tweeted. This tweet was, however, retweeted by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
In an online briefing last week, Kejriwal had said, "The initial results are every encouraging and good. It gives a ray of hope to save people's lives from coronavirus." Meanwhile, the Delhi government told the Centre that it is not feasible to conduct class 10 and 12 board exams, which are pending due to the lockdown imposed to curb the COVID-19 spread.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia made the recommendations during a meeting of state education ministers chaired by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank'.
"Due to the need of social distancing, it will not be feasible to conduct remaining exams for class 10 and 12 students even in May-June. Having exam thereafter will delay the next academic cycle heavily. Other states have their own state boards but Delhi has CBSE as its board. Most students of CBSE come from Delhi," Sisodia said.
"I appealed to the HRD minister that CBSE be asked to take a similar route for promoting students as it proposed for class 9 and 11. In these uncertain times, I don't know if we would be able to conduct examinations again, so on the basis of same formula like internal assessments and papers already conducted, students of class 10 and 12 too should be evaluated.
"This will help us not waste our students' time and not push their academic cycles further and get their studies hampered," he added. Sisodia, who is also Delhi's education minister, suggested that "the curriculum for the next academic session should reduced by 30 per cent and competitive exams like JEE, NEET be conducted on the basis of reduced syllabus".
Meanwhile, the prices of vegetables like lady finger, cucumber and bottle gourd might increase in the city as their supply from Sonipat to Azadpur Mandi is likely get affected by up to 30 per cent, following sealing of Haryana's border with Delhi. Haryana's borders with Delhi have been "sealed" with essential services allowed but stricter restrictions imposed on those coming in from the national capital, state Home Minister Anil Vij said on Tuesday.