Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal - file photo
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal - file photo
Video grab: ANI/Twitter

New Delhi: At a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the high severity of the third wave of COVID-19 cases in the national capital is due to many factors with pollution being a significant one, sources said.

Kejriwal told the prime minister that Delhi saw the peak of 8,600 coronavirus infections on November 10 during the third wave and since then, the number of cases as well as the positivity rate are steadily decreasing, the sources said.

The chief minister hoped that this decreasing trend would continue in the national capital.

"The high severity of the third wave is due to many factors. Pollution is an important factor. The chief minister sought the prime minister's intervention to get rid of the pollution caused by stubble-burning in adjoining states, especially in view of the recent bio-decomposer technique," a source said.

According to scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, the "Pusa bio-decomposer" solution can turn crop residue into manure in 15 to 20 days and therefore, can prevent stubble burning.

At the meeting, Kejriwal also sought the reservation of the additional 1,000 ICU beds in the central government-run hospitals in Delhi for coronavirus patients till the third wave of the infection lasts in the city, the sources said.

Modi interacted via video-conferencing with the chief ministers of the states that are witnessing a surge in the number of coronavirus cases to review the pandemic situation.

Delhi recorded 4,454 fresh COVID-19 cases and a positivity rate of 11.94 per cent on Monday, while 121 more fatalities pushed the death toll due to the disease to 8,512 in the city.

This was the sixth time in 12 days that the daily number of deaths crossed the 100-mark in the national capital.

Authorities reported 121 deaths due to COVID-19 on Sunday, 111 on Saturday, 118 on Friday, 131 on November 18, the highest till date, and 104 on November 12.

Earlier in the day, the chief minister ordered for immediate procurement of 1,200 BiPAP machines for the new ICU beds being added in the national capital this week.

The move will allow immediate operationalisation of the new ICU beds.

A total of 1,200 BiPAP machines will be procured immediately from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the official said.

On Monday, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain attributed the high COVID-19 death rate in the city to the pollution caused by stubble-burning and expected a downtrend in it in the next two-three weeks.

"There was heavy pollution due to stubble-burning amid the COVID-19 pandemic and it came as a double attack. Since the pollution due to stubble-burning is less now, the downtrend in deaths will be there in a few weeks," Jain told reporters on Monday. PTI

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