Delhi is likely to report around 14,000 fresh COVID-19 cases today, state Health Minister Satyendar Jain said, a day after the city witnessed its biggest single-day spike in nearly eight months. The minister, however, ruled out the possibility of a lockdown in the national capital.
"Covid cases in Delhi have seen a sharp rise in the past few days. Many more cases have come, today it is going to be near 14,000," Mr Jain said.
Speaking to reporters, the minister also said Delhi is in a "comfortable position" in terms of hospital bed occupancy.
"Currently, the death ratio is 1 in 1,000. The situation is fine as compared to last time. Yesterday we had 9,000 free beds, today it has become 12,000, so our preparations are complete. We are now conducting close to 90,000 tests," he said.
The number of cases is high due to a large number of people are being tested for COVID-19 in the city, he said.
"We have been conducting a large number of tests. If we don't do that, the new cases can reduce to 500-1,000. A lot of people (states) don't conduct tests and say they don't have cases. We have been transparent," he said.
"We are conducting the maximum number of tests in the country," he claimed.
The minister added that patients who do not have symptoms for three days after seven days of home isolation need not test according to the new guidelines.
The number of Covid cases in the city nearly doubled on Wednesday, shooting up from 5481 to 10,665 in the biggest single-day spike since May 12. Eight deaths were also recorded -- the highest since June 26.
The positivity rate was 11.88 per cent -- the highest since May 14. The spike in Covid cases is also being accompanied by higher numbers of hospitalisations.
The number of patients in hospitals in Delhi has increased from 247 on January 1 to 531 on January 4, according to the latest data. In the last three days, the number of patients on oxygen support has increased from 94 to 168 and those on ventilators from four to 14.
Currently, 11,551 patients are in home isolation.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier said his government is ready to handle up to one lakh Covid cases a day in a worst-case scenario. At least 40 per cent beds in private hospitals are being reserved to handle the wave, he said.
Leaves of all Delhi government officials and staff have been cancelled to ensure adequate manpower to handle Covid wave.
Delhi has imposed the weekend curfew and work from home for government offices to arrest the sudden spurt in Covid cases. Under the restrictions, private offices can only function at 50 per cent capacity. Buses and the Delhi metro will operate at full capacity in order to avoid long queues and crowding.