New Delhi: Adding to the confusion over whether there is community transmission of COVID-19 in the city, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said there is “transmission in the community” but only the Centre can declare if it is so.
Community transmission is a technical term, he said, putting on the onus on the Centre.
His remarks come a day after Deputy Chief Manish Sisodia told reporters that the Centre has said there is “no community transmission” of the novel coronavirus infection in the national capital.
“There is transmission in the community. But if it is community transmission or not that can be declared by the Centre only. It is a technical term,” a statement quoting Jain said.
A day earlier, Jain had told reporters that the source of infection is not known in nearly half of the fresh cases being reported here.
Delhi recorded 1,366 fresh cases of COVID-19 on June 9, taking the tally to 31,309, while the death toll mounted to 905, authorities said on Wednesday.
There are 18,543 active cases, and 11,861 people have recovered, Jain said.
Even the active contacts of the cases are around 30,000-40,000. And, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, himself suggested that “there is a community transmission in the containment zones,” he said.
Earlier, in one case, contact tracing would be done for up to 600 people, and today, if we multiply 1500 cases into 600, it gives us 9,00,000 people for contact tracing. So, contact tracing is being done only for immediate contacts and not for indirect contacts, Jain said.
Around 4,000 COVID-19 beds are vacant and over 2,000 COVID-19 beds in total have been added in various private hospitals, he added.
This is the biggest disease that mankind has ever witnessed. Around 100 years ago, a virus known as Spanish Flu of the same intensity spread across the world, and now coronavirus is spreading with the same intensity, the minister said.
“This virus is spreading rapidly, and a person takes two weeks to recover if he gets infected. If he infects even two persons, the spread of the diseases is two-fold in 10-12 days, and over 8-10 people get infected,” Jain said.
Since the base of the disease is such that over 30,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus right now, we are expecting that the rate of the virus will be double in the next 10-15 days, Jain said.
“This count is not absolute but depends on the rate of infection because one person may infect two or three more people before recovering fully from this disease, and this is true for every state and not just Delhi.
“We are arranging twice the number of beds than the patients in the hospitals, and the current scenario is also that half of the available beds are occupied,” he said.
By June 15, around 7000 beds will be occupied and by June 30, 15000 beds will be occupied, the minister said.
“If we had arranged for beds equalling the number of COVID cases in Delhi, people requiring health services other than COVID, could not have been treated. But, we will arrange for as many beds as possible as soon as we can,” he added.
The WHO had declared that the pandemic may be over by May 16, which has not happened, It still exists, and we have to take all steps and precautions to deal with it, the minister said.
“When the lockdown was imposed, there were 100 cases across the country, and now that number has gone up to thousands. If we impose lockdown again, there will be no logic as the cases will increase from around 2.5 lakh to 25 lakh despite the lockdown,” he claimed.
There have been learnings from the lockdown, as there was different perceptions regarding it. Some believed that the virus will be over in a month or two, and some believed that the virus will be over as when temperature increases, but that did not happen, he said.
“We have to learn to live with the virus, and it is here to stay till the next 2-3 years. I can advise the people on three things that they must do, first is to wear a mask when stepping outside to avoid the risk of infection to you and your family, second, maintain social distancing, and third, regularly washing hands,” he said.