NATIONAL CAPITAL TO SCREEN EVERY HOUSE FOR VIRUS BY JULY 6

New Delhi

Delhi, burdened with a surge of the 3,788 fresh coronavirus cases, national capital’s tally crossed 70,000-mark on Wednesday, surpassing Mumbai to become the worst hit city in the country. Further, the government decided to screen all houses in the national capital by July 6, starting with the screening of all residences in 261 containment zones by June 30.

With 64 fresh fatalities, the death toll reached 2,635. Delhi has reported the highest cases and deaths after Maharashtra. The total cases stood at 70,390 in the capital.

The Home Minister announced 20,000 corona beds will be added in the national capital by next week. CM Arvind Kejriwal has spotted a sprawling campus of spiritual organisation Radha Soami Satsang, Beas, on the outskirts of south Delhi to run a 10,000-bed covid-19 care facility and the Home Minister has promised to provide doctors and medical staff of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to run the centre.

The 12-day screening strategy against the disease was drawn up after a series of meetings between Home Minister Amit Shah and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of CM Kejriwal that governs the state, after a stinking snub by the Supreme Court on the sorry state of patients and those succumbing to death due to Covid-19.

Importantly, the revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was issued on June 22. The plan also has deadlines for carrying out various tasks. According to it, a review and designing of containment zones should be done by June 26. Similarly, a house-to-house screening and response should be conducted by June 30 in containment zones.

As per the new COVID-response plan, an-PCR test will be conducted for highly suspicious cases in containment zones which test negative on Rapid Antigen Test.

A day after urging the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to scrap the new system requiring every COVID-19 patient to visit a government-run centre for clinical assessment, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia took up the matter with Home Minister Amit Shah.

Last week, Baijal had issued an order making it mandatory for every new COVID-19 patient to undergo five-day institutional quarantine. It was later amended after opposition from the AAP government.

On the issue, Kejriwal said, "The Delhi government, Centre and other organisations have been working in cooperation with each other. I request the Centre to roll back the order,"

Worryingly, Delhi has some 261 containment zones and the government said surveillance and contact tracing will be strengthened in these areas. Some neighborhoods were sealed to severe the chain of transmission. In containment zones, police will restrict movement and keep a tab through CCTV.

Unlike earlier when COVID-19 task forces of districts were overlooked by the district magistrates, the teams will now have deputy commissioners of police (DCP), civic body officials, epidemiologists, District Surveillance Officer (DSO), and IT professionals. The team will monitor Aarogya Setu app. Downloading the app would be mandatory in the hotspots.

“More than 2,500 new cases and up to 75 deaths (are) being reported every day (in Delhi). About 45% of the cases are showing signs of clustering in containment zones," the government said.

Home Minister Amit Shah has asked Delhi Government to evaluate the existing plan of containment zones' demarcation and come up with a new one which consists of buffer zones around the hotspots by June 26. "Once a zone is declared as a containment zone, it will have to strictly follow the rules and active case search will be done inside the containment zone. There will be a sufficient number of buffer zones around the containment zone,” the city govt said.

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