Is New Delhi, with rising coronavirus cases, set to become the next New York?

Edited By: Palki Sharma WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jun 25, 2020, 10.20 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in Delhi Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The Delhi government expects cases to touch 5,50,000 by the end of July. Nearly 1,50,000 beds will be required to treat fresh cases till then.

New Delhi, with more than 70,000 coronavirus cases, is now officially the worst hit city in the country. It is now being compared to New York -- in terms of casualty caused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This did not happen overnight.

A series of ill-planned moves led to this culmination.

In the last 24 hours, more than 3,750 cases have been reported in the national capital. All these days, Mumbai held the infamous tag of 'New York of India'. But not anymore.

Authorities in both -- New York and New Delhi -- are being accused of complacency.

All the emphasis lay on capacity creation, and no attention was paid to contact tracing.

Across the country, entire districts were being declared as containment zones. But the Delhi government insisted on smaller zones.

There was no monitoring of people under self-quarantine.

New Delhi has twice the required number of accredited social health activists. That's over 3,500 Asha workers who could be asked to follow-up.

To compound problems, several doctors at area-based clinics or mohalla clinics began to test positive.

This led to the closure of at least 150 clinics. The Delhi government lost its local reach to trace cases.

On May 27, New Delhi did slightly over 6,000 tests per day. By June 7, the number fell to 3,000 -- blame it on the state government's move to stop testing asymptomatic cases.

New Delhi had close to 20,000 cases by the end of May. In the next 15 days, cases crossed the 35,000 mark.

The Supreme Court pulled up Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for the massive spike. It posed one key question -- why did the testing go down?

The top court also questioned the lack of beds and why patients were finding it difficult to get admitted.

More importantly, three BJP-led municipal corporations said the death toll was much higher than the government figures.

Reports on problems with New Delhi's death toll began to appear in early May. But it took a month for the Delhi government to set up an audit panel.

After the Supreme Court's rebuke, the central government took matters into its hands and sent rapid antigen tests kits.

Nearly 40,000 cases have been detected in the last two weeks.

And the testing has now gone up from 5,000 tests per day to 20,000 tests per day.

That's just half the battle won.

The Delhi government expects cases to touch 5,50,000 by the end of July. Nearly 1,50,000 beds will be required to treat fresh cases till then.

The government is converting trains, banquet halls and sports complexes into COVID-19 care centres.

New Delhi is finally doing what it should have done much earlier. More containment zones have been identified, taking the total to 263.

In a week of intense contact tracing, door-to-door surveys will be carried out in these zones, covering 45 lakh houses.

New Delhi's COVID-19 strategy badly needed a revision, and this has been rightly called "the revised Delhi COVID response plan".

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