Covid-19: Yellow alert to continue in Delhi for now, authorities in wait-and-watch mode

The DDMA on Tuesday declared a ‘yellow alert’ under GRAP amid a spike in coronavirus cases following the emergence of the Omicron variant.

The DDMA on Wednesday decided that Covid-related restrictions imposed in Delhi under the ‘yellow alert’ will continue for the time being and authorities will monitor the situation for a while before deciding on fresh curbs, according to officials.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Lt Governor Anil Baijal, who is also the chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority. It was attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and several experts.

The DDMA had on Tuesday declared a ‘yellow alert’ under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the city amid a spike in coronavirus cases following the emergence of the virus’ Omicron variant.

The ‘yellow alert’ entails restrictions like night curfew, closure of schools and colleges, opening of shops selling non-essential items on an odd-even basis and halved seating capacity in Metro trains and buses, among other things.

In a series of tweets after the meeting, Baijal said, “It was decided to continue with the existing restrictions imposed recently in view of rising cases and to keep a close vigil on the ground situation.” “The Health department was advised to enhance the health preparedness to deal effectively with the emerging situation and to closely monitor bed occupancy besides strengthening the home isolation strategy,” he said.

“It was also reiterated to continue with the Test, Track & Treat strategy with special focus on surveillance, dealienation (delineation) of containment zones, isolation of positive cases and close monitoring of home isolation cases so as to break the chain of transmission,” the LG added.

Delhi on Wednesday recorded 923 fresh COVID-19 cases, the highest since May 30, while the positivity rate stood at 1.29 per cent, health department data showed.

On Tuesday, the city had recorded 496 cases, the highest since June 4, with a positivity rate of 0.89 per cent, according to official data.

Officials said authorities are in favour of monitoring the situation for some more time and to avoid imposing further restrictions under ‘amber alert’.

During the meeting, it was also decided to ensure strict enforcement of restrictions imposed under the ‘yellow alert’. In case the situation worsens, emergency measures may be imposed, they said.

“The important thing is that hospital bed occupancy is low. It was decided that enforcement of the existing restrictions should be strictly done so that infections are contained. Further restrictions under ‘amber alert’ (Level 2) could be implemented if the need arises,” a senior government official said.

An ‘amber alert’ under the colour-coded GRAP is declared when the positivity rate is recorded at one per cent or above for two consecutive days. It involves imposition of weekend curfew, closure of restaurants and bars, reducing seating capacity in Metro trains to 33 per cent and closure of shops selling non-essential items by 6 pm, among other things.

The GRAP is based on positivity rate (on two consecutive days), cumulative number of new cases (over a week) and average oxygenated-bed occupancy (for a week) for designated four levels of alerts.

After the ‘yellow alert’, further restrictions are imposed at advanced stages of ‘amber’, ‘orange’ and ‘red’ with a higher number of new cases and hospitalisations.

According to official figures, out of the 8,965 dedicated Covid beds, 262 or 2.92 per cent were occupied and 97 per cent were vacant on December 28.

The occupancy of oxygenated beds (8,405) was 3.04 per cent, ICU beds (2,769) 0.97 per cent and ventilators (1,379) 1.08 per cent. The vacancy on these beds ranged from 96 per cent to 99 per cent on December 28, the data showed.

In contrast, the occupancy during the second wave of COVID-19 was 29.79 per cent of dedicated beds, 30.77 per cent of oxygenated beds, 57.9 per cent of ICU beds and 72.15 per cent of ventilators on May 25, it stated.

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