- One in 2 residents in Delhi has been exposed to Covid, sero survey says
- The data suggested that the city is inching towards herd immunity
- But people should not let their guard down, Delhi Health Minister says
One in two residents in Delhi has been exposed to the coronavirus and developed antibodies for the infection, the fifth serological survey in the capital has found, the government said on Tuesday. The data suggested that the city of 2 crore is inching towards herd immunity - when the majority of the population becomes immune to a disease, slowing its spread - but people should not let their guard down, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said.
"In the fifth sero survey done in the national capital of Delhi, antibodies have been detected in 56.13 per cent of the population. This was the largest survey in any state involving around 28,000 samples conducted from January 15 to 23," Mr Jain said.
The city's north district had the lowest seroprevalence - the number of people found with antibodies - at 49 per cent. The southeast district had the highest at 62.18 per cent.
"The last survey found 25-26 per cent seroprevalence. This means Delhi is inching towards herd immunity. Cases are also declining at less than 200 per day and low positivity rates. But I would appeal not let your guard down. Keep your masks on," the minister said.
With 8,635 fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, India recorded the lowest single-day rise in its tally in nearly eight months, the government data this morning showed.
After reporting its first case in late January, the country was reporting fewer cases until April 2020, but from May onwards cases started rising and peaked by mid-September to close to 1 lakh daily cases. Since then, the infection rate has slowed significantly.
India has around 1.6 lakh active COVID-19 patients, the lowest since June 2020. It has reported 1.07 crore infections and 1.54 lakh deaths - one of the world's lowest fatality rates, attributed partly to its relatively young population.
The country has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the United States and, with the likely true rate of infection even higher, some experts have suggested pockets of India have attained herd immunity through natural infection.
India started its immunisation programme on January 16, with healthcare workers and a target of reaching 30 crore people by July-August.
The world's most populous country after China has vaccinated around 39 lakh healthcare workers in the first two weeks of the campaign.