Union home minister Amit Shah has said he disagrees with Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia that the national capital will have 5.5 lakh Covid-19 cases by the end of July.
“Around the second week of June, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that by July 31 there will be 5.5 lakh persons infected with the virus. He said that there will be no place left, no beds left and the situation will be difficult. This created a lot of fear in the minds of people in Delhi,” Shah said in an interview to news agency ANI.
“I do not want to go into whether estimate was right or wrong. But a situation of fear arose and some people started mulling an exodus (out of Delhi),” he added.
Shah also said that there is no community transmission in Delhi. “I have talked to three senior-most officials – Dr Paul (from Niti Aayog), ICMR chief Dr Bhargava and Dr Guleria (AIIMS New Delhi Director). This situation has not come to Delhi. Such situation appeared because of the total tests done, earlier 30 per cent turned out to be positive and that was happening because tests were done at the last moment. Now that we have started doing 20,000 tests on average, this condition is not there. I have held technical discussions on this…today this situation is not there in Delhi. There is no need to fear,” the home minister told ANI.
On June 9, Sisodia had said that the cases in Delhi would rise to 2.5 lakh by July 15 and the government would require 33,000 beds. He further told mediapersons that till July 31, there will be 5.5 lakh cases in the national capital.
Sisodia was addressing a press briefing after a meeting called to discuss if there was community transmission of Covid-19 cases in Delhi.
“I can say now with confidence that situation of 5.5 lakh cases will not come on July 31,” Shah said on Sunday, adding that a crucial meeting was called after Sisodia’s comment.
The Centre stepped in after the spike of Covid-19 cases in the national capital. Shah held a series of meetings with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and even the civic officials of the national capital to understand the situation and launch a programme to check the rapid spread of the coronavirus disease.
A revised plan to combat Covid-19 was formulated and the Delhi government started door-to-door surveys which are expected to complete by June 30. The Centre had emphasised on increasing testing and formulating a plan for containment zones.
A serological survey also began in some parts of Delhi on Saturday – the announcement was made by the Union home ministry spokesperson on Thursday. Blood samples will be taken from randomly selected people as part of the survey, which involves rapid tests for antibodies, to study the scale of undetected infections.
Samples of 20,000 people will be tested by July 10 to ascertain the population-level presence of the IgG antibody, which indicates past infection.
Kejriwal, meanwhile, announced that his government was deploying “five weapons” – testing and isolation, providing oximeters and oxygen concentrators, plasma therapy, screening, and survey – in the fight against the infection.