- Arvind Kejriwal asked centre to remove age restrictions on vaccination
- People below the age of 45 should also be vaccinated, he said
- The chief minister said that a full lockdown is not the solution
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today requested the centre to remove age restrictions on COVID-19 vaccination, even as his government flagged vaccine shortage and said that stocks for just seven to 10 days are left.
He said that the surge in COVID-19 cases this time is "worse" than what Delhi saw during the third peak. This is the fourth wave in Delhi which is "much more dangerous", he added.
The chief minister also said that a full lockdown is not the solution to tackle the pandemic, a day after announcing several new restrictions amid an alarming rise in coronavirus cases in Delhi.
"Over 10,000 COVID-19 cases were reported in Delhi in the last 24 hours, this is a worrisome situation," the Aam Aadmi Party chief said today.
"Till mid-March, there were less than 200 daily Covid cases in the city. But in the last 24 hours, 10,732 cases were recorded... (the highest single-day spike till date). Delhi reported 7,897 new coronavirus cases on Saturday and 8,500 a day before that. In the last 10-15 days, coronavirus has spread very quickly," Mr Kejriwal said.
He said the centre should open vaccination for all ages. "People below the age of 45 should also be vaccinated to break the cycle of the coronavirus."
"I have requested the centre many times regarding the removal of age restrictions on taking COVID-19 vaccine. The Delhi government is ready to conduct a door-to-door campaign to vaccinate people. 65 per cent of patients in Delhi are below" 45 years of age, Mr Kejriwal said.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding an "urgent need for vaccine universalisation and vaccine nationalism"
"Several states have run out of stocks of vaccines and remaining states have stocks left only for three to five days," the letter reads.
The Delhi chief minister said certain restrictions have been put in place to curb the recent surge. "We don't want to impose a lockdown but we have issued fresh curbs to battle the surge. I appeal to everyone to follow norms."
"I am not in favour of a lockdown, don't believe that is a solution. Lockdown should be imposed only when a state's healthcare facilities collapse," he added.
Mr Kejriwal said his government is focusing on hospital management at present and asked people to head towards government hospitals instead of private ones. "Don't run towards private hospitals... the beds are less there. Please go to government hospitals... Those who are asymptomatic must home isolate."
"I salute paramedics and nurses... who have been working for over a year," the chief minister said.
The Delhi government on Saturday announced new restrictions, banning most public gatherings and setting limits for attendance at restaurants, theatres, on public transport and functions like weddings and funerals.
The new rules which will stay in place till April 30, along with the earlier announced 10-pm-to-5-am night curfew, include a ban on all types of social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious gatherings in Delhi. Only 50 people will be allowed to attend weddings and not more than 20 at funerals. Restaurants, bars and cinemas will operate at 50 per cent of their seating capacity.
COVID-19 cases have been increasing across the country -- 1,52,879 fresh infections were reported since yesterday, setting another grim one-day record as the country's Covid tally reached over 1.33 crore cases. 839 deaths in the last 24 hour pushed the total death count to 1.69 lakh in India.