The coronavirus graph in Delhi has remained on a relentless climb, registering a new high of 5,739 fresh cases over the last 24 hours. This was the second consecutive day when the national capital logged more than 5,000 new patients of the highly infectious disease.
Yesterday, the city recorded its 5,673 cases, breaching the 5,000 barrier for the first time since the outbreak reached it.
For two days before that, the national capital has been logging over 4,000 cases a day.
Today, the Union Health Secretary had held a meeting with the Health Secretary of Delhi over the spike in cases.
The Delhi government told Centre that the spike is due to social gatherings during festivities, the deteriorating air quality, increasing incidences of respiratory disorders, clusters of positive cases at work places and fatigue among frontline workers.
The Centre asked Delhi to aggressively ramp up testing and increase RT-PCR tests, focus on contact tracing and effectively enforce isolation of the traced contacts within the first 72 hours.
After yesterday's record rise, Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain was cautious, saying it is too early to infer if the national capital was seeing a third wave of Covid.
"We should wait and observe the trend for a week. We will not be able to say anything in definite terms till then. It is too early to call it a third wave just yet. But, it might be a possibility," Mr Jain had said.
Last month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said the national capital had turned the corner after a second wave of COVID-19.
"On September 16, Delhi recorded approximately 4,500 cases. After that, the cases started to decline and in the last 24 hours, 3,700 cases have come up in the national capital," the Chief Minister had said. "In the coming days, the numbers will decline further," he added.
With the festival season on and the air quality tanking at the onset of winter, the city has been bracing for a spike in cases. A recent report by the National Centre for Disease Control has said Delhi may see up to 15,000 Covid cases daily in winter.
Underscoring that the spike was not unexpected, Mr Jain said the government has changed its strategy to meet the challenge.
"Now, when a person tests positive, we also test his entire family and all his close contacts. We do this not just once but twice - the second time after 4 to 5 days," he said, adding the spike could just be a fallout of the increased testing.