Delhi's new single-day record -- 19486 COVID-19 cases, 141 deaths; health facilities to be ramped up

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) Delhi recorded its highest-ever one-day COVID-19 figures Friday when 19,486 cases and 141 deaths were reported, prompting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to order setting up more coronavirus facilities and increase the strength of oxygen beds.

Lt Governor Anil Baijal also directed Chief Secretary Vijay Dev to set up helplines for information on availability of hospital beds, besides establishing help desks at every COVID-dedicated health facility to assist patients and their attendants.

Kejriwal appointed his deputy Manish Sisodia the ‘nodal minister’ for overall COVID-19 management in the city and assigned him the responsibility of inter-ministerial coordination.

With the unprecedented rise in coronavirus cases, the AAP government also appointed 10 IAS officers as 'nodal officers' for COVID-19 hospitals run by it and asked them to work from the health care facility they have been assigned.

'The officers will be overall in-charge of the COVID-19 hospital assigned to them and will exercise general superintendence, directions and control over the functioning of the hospital,' an order issued by the health department read.

'Each officer shall be stationed at their respective hospital and ensure a robust and effective public grievances system also,' he tweeted.

Delhi recorded 19,486 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest single-day surge till date, and 141 fatalities from the coronavirus infection, also the highest fatality count in a day, according to data shared by the health department here.

The positivity rate Friday fell down marginally to 19.69 per cent from the highest-ever figure of 20.22 per cent a day earlier.

On Thursday and Friday, the city had recorded 16,699 and 17,282 cases respectively.

As per the latest bulletin, 19,486 fresh cases and 141 new fatalities were recorded, pushing the death toll to 11,793.

The government had Thursday announced a curfew this weekend and the closure of malls, gymnasiums and auditoriums till April 30 as part of sweeping restrictions to break the chain of the infection.

The Delhi government had on April 6 announced a seven-hour night curfew. The decision was taken after the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) reviewed the COVID-19 situation in the city.

On Friday, Kerjiwal held a meeting to review the situation and directed officials to ensure keep the Delhi Corona app updated with real-time availability of beds.

'The chief minister directed officials to create more COVID facilities and to increase the strength of oxygen beds across Delhi. He also directed the officials to ensure real-time availability of beds of the Delhi Corona app and that the information on the number of beds is exact,' the government said in a statement.

According to the statement, Kejriwal said there should be multiple assistance numbers in the hospitals and nodal persons should be appointed at every helpline number so that no urgent calls are missed or turned down.

He also said that health teams must reach out to every patient in home isolation and provide oximeters.

Kejriwal said that the focus of the Delhi government is towards increasing the bed capacity, which will ensure adequate treatment for the people who require urgent assistance.

The highest single-day spike in Delhi -- 8,593 cases -- was reported on November 11 in 2020, while on November 18, the city had recorded 131 COVID-19 deaths, the highest single-day fatality count till Thursday.

The positivity rate till the third wave was mid-November last year had stood above 15 per cent.

Battling the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Delhi has left the financial capital Mumbai far behind in the daily tally, becoming the worst-affected city in the country. Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava Friday said the weekend restrictions, imposed by the city government, will be enforced strictly.

According to officials, he directed all Deputy Commissioners of Police to utilize the outside force and PCR for strict enforcement of curfew and take prompt legal action for violations.

Meanwhile, the government Friday said that people appearing for examinations this weekend in Delhi will not require curfew e-passes.

It also said that those who have a valid night curfew e-pass are not required to take a separate pass for the weekend curfew.

'The e-pass possessed by a person for movement connected to essential goods and services during night curfew shall also be valid for weekend curfew period,' read a letter issued by the DDMA on Friday.

Lt Governor Anil Baijal reviewed the enforcement of COVID-appropriate behaviour and said that concerted and coordinated efforts are required from all agencies and stakeholders to contain the surge.

The lieutenant governor also directed officers to ensure aggressive deployment and enforcement in areas in peak hours. PTI KND GVS GJS MG NIT BUN BUN TIR TIR