Delhi Records 733 New Cases At 19.93 Positivity Rate, Govt Asks To Ramp Up Testing

Over 3,800 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in Delhi during the March 30-April 7 period. Friday's daily cases were highest in over seven months.

Covid-19 testing in Gurugram

Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in Delhi, the government directed the hospitals and polyclinics to ramp up testing. 

Delhi on Friday reported 733 new Covid-19 cases at a positivity rate of 19.33. In all, more than 3,800 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Delhi during the March 30-April 7 period. Two deaths were also reported on Friday.

The Friday's tally is the highest daily count for Covid-19 cases for Delhi in over seven months. The Delhi last recorded 620 cases on August 26.

Low testing in states and Union Territories (UTs) was also flagged in a Covid-19 review meeting chaired by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday. Among the number of steps advised, he had asked the states to ramp up testing and Covid-19 vaccination. Low coverage of booster doses was also flagged in the review meeting. 

What's the Delhi Covid situation?

Delhi on Friday logged 733 fresh Covid cases, the highest in more than seven months, with a positivity rate of 19.93, according to data shared by Delhi's health department.

The health bulletin said two more Covid-positive people died in the city. However, "Covid finding was incidental", it added.

More than 3,800 coronavirus cases have been recorded in the city during the March 30-April 7 period.

On Thursday, 606 cases were recorded with a positivity rate of 16.98 and one fatality. On Wednesday, Delhi logged a positivity rate of 26.54, the highest in nearly 15 months, with 509 people testing positive in a single day. In January last year, the positivity rate had touched the 30-per cent mark.

Delhi has witnessed a spurt in the number of fresh Covid infections over the last few days amid a sharp rise in H3N2 influenza cases in the country. The Delhi government is keeping an eye on the rise in Covid cases and is "prepared to face any eventuality", Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said last week.

Health authorities directed to increase tests

Hospitals, polyclinics and dispensaries in Delhi have been instructed by health department authorities to scale up testing amid an upward trend in Covid-19 cases here in the past several days, sources said to PTI on Saturday.

The sources said the department has instructed hospitals, polyclinics and dispensaries in the city to increase Covid testing.

"Authorities at these facilities have been told that anyone who visits such facilities and exhibits ILI (influenza-like illness) symptoms, such as fever, cough, body ache is to be tested as cases have risen and the daily count is growing steadily," a source said.

Testing kits, vaccine kits being sought

Amid a gradual increase in the number of Covid cases in Delhi, medical experts say the new XBB.1.16 variant of the virus could be driving the surge.

However, they maintained that there is no need to panic and people should follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and get booster shots of the vaccines.

Another source claimed that Covid vaccine doses at city government facilities are "not in stock" at present.

"Request had been sent to the Centre for allotment of more Covid vaccine doses. The old stock has an expiry period, so all doses were used before that date. Besides, people are not showing keenness to get the booster dose for multiple reasons, so there aren't many takers anyway," he said.

Precaution doses are available at private hospitals and those who haven't got their booster dose administered, should get it done, a senior doctor in the health department said.

"Many people who have got all three shots taken are also getting infected with Covid. Reports claiming side effects of vaccines, including on the heart, is also a factor in keeping people away. And, a section of people also feel that now they have got immunity from previous infection or first two doses, so they are not going for the booster dose. So, it's an interplay of multiple factors due to which less number of people have so far got precautions doses in Delhi, which is about 25 per cent of the eligible population in this category," he said.

Doctors said as testing is to be ramped up, more kits and equipment will be used, and the health department is making preparations for it.

Health Minister Mandaviya flagged low testing

In a review meeting with states and UTs, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya flagged low testing in most of the states.

Mandaviya also stressed on identifying emergency hotspots by monitoring trends of influenza-like illness (ILI), severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), ramping up vaccination, and ensuring readiness of hospital infrastructure.

During the meeting, it was observed that 23 states and Union territories (UTs) had average tests per million below the national average, according to a health ministry statement.

Mandaviya said irrespective of the new variants, the five-fold strategy of 'Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour' continue to remain the tested strategy for Covid management. He said this would facilitate undertaking of appropriate public health measures.

States and UTs were also requested to expeditiously increase the rate of testing from the current rate of 100 tests per million, as on the week ending April 7. They were further advised to increase the share of RT-PCR in tests, the statement said.

Along with enhancing genome sequencing and ramping up whole genome sequencing of positive samples, Mandaviya also emphasised on creating awareness about following Covid-appropriate behaviour.


Mandaviya also urged the state health ministers to conduct mock drills of all hospital infrastructure on April 10 and 11 and review the health preparedness with district administrations and health officials on April 8 and 9.  

(With PTI inputs)