New Delhi: The entire Delhi may not be declared as a red zone as the city government is planning to categorise COVID-19 cases by wards and not by districts, sources said on Friday, a move that can bring relief to Delhiities reeling under the coronavirus-forced lockdown. Also Read - Most of Delhi People Wanted Extension of Lockdown, Finds Survey
In a zone-wise classification of districts in the country, the Union Health Ministry has designated all 11 districts of Delhi as red zone. The city has 272 wards. Also Read - COVID-19: Delhi Police Take Out Bike Rally to Express Gratitude to AIIMS Health Workers
The plan will be sent to the Union Health Ministry for approval, sources said.
With 223 fresh cases of coronavirus, the COVID-19 cases tally rose to 3,738. Two more deaths were also reported, taking the fatalities to 61. Also Read - Coronavirus in Delhi: AAP MLA Vishesh Ravi, Brother Test Positive For COVID-19
Addressing an online briefing, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government will not stop clinical trials of plasma therapy to treat severely-ill COVID-19 patients as its initial results are good.
The announcement came days after the centre said that plasma therapy for treatment of coronavirus patients is at an experimental stage and it has the potential to cause life-threatening complications.
On classifying zones based on wards rather than districts, sources said Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has directed officials to come up with a detailed plan on ward-wise mapping of red, orange and green zones.
According to an official, an area, which reports three or more cases of COVID-19, is declared a red zone while an area, where one or two cases emerge, is identified as an orange zone.
The Centre on Friday announced that a “limited” lockdown, including suspension of inter-state travel, air and train services, will continue to remain in force for another two weeks throughout the country from May 4 but some activities would be allowed after classifying areas into Red, Orange and Green zones.
Delhi has been under lockdown since March 23.
After the MHA order, the Delhi Metro tweeted that its services will remain shut till May 17.
In a meeting chaired by Baijal, Health Secretary Padmini Singla made a detailed analysis of spatial distribution of COVID-19 cases, containment zones and ward wise mapping of red, orange and green zones.
“The Union Health Ministry designates any area as red, orange or green zone on district level. Delhi has only eleven districts and it is geographically different to other states.
“Once the ward-level categorisation plan is ready, it will be sent to the ministry for its approval. If we get permission, Delhi, which is entirely in the red zone, will have orange and green zones as well,” they said.
Baijal has asked the health department to develop an action plan to convert red zones into orange zones to green zones and handhold field machineries in maintaining the green zones.
Sources said that for instance, Delhi, which has currently 100 containment zones, will have 37 orange zones and 63 red zones once ward-level categorisation.
“Total 6 lakh people are living in 100 containment zones and it is 3 per cent of the total population while one per cent of the total area has been declared containment zone, one of the officials added.
To facilitate movement of migrant workers and other stranded people in the national capital, the city government on Friday appointed senior IAS officer P K Gupta as the “nodal officer”, and directed officials to prevent unlawful assembly or movement of persons.
Kejriwal said his government is in talks with other states on the movement of migrant workers and will soon come out with a detailed plan.
According to an order, Special Commissioner Muktesh Chandar has been appointed as nodal officer of Delhi Police and he will provide all assistance and logistics of police department to Gupta for movement of stranded people from Delhi to other states.
Gupta is principal secretary of social welfare department.
In an order by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, headed by Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, officials have been asked to take all necessary measures and make all out efforts to prevent unlawful assembly of persons in any part of the national capital.
On bringing back students from the national capital stranded in Rajasthan’s Kota – the coaching hub for engineering and medical aspirants, Kejriwal said the Delhi government is sending 40 buses, the chief minister said.
“I was getting many requests from students stranded in Kota and their parents. We are sending 40 buses today (Friday) to Kota to bring them back. By tomorrow (Saturday), they will return to Delhi,” he said.
The students will have to go into self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Delhi, he said.
On the Delhi government continuing with plasma therapy trials, Kejriwal said a COVID-19 patient, whose condition was serious, has been discharged from hospital after undergoing plasma therapy and that the Delhi government has got permission from the centre to conduct trials at LNJP Hospital.
The chief minister said the government is identifying more containment zones, but the number has been decreasing over the last few days.
So far, four containment zones have been de-contained. There are 97 containment zones in Delhi.
Four weeks after being sealed under Operation Shield, Mayurdhwaj Apartment in East Delhi is being de-contained. No new cases found. Congratulations to the health team and all residents, Kejriwal tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Health Department has asked medical directors to get written explanations from COVID-19 infected healthcare workers on how they contracted the disease despite wearing protective gears.
According to a Delhi government order, medical directors of non-coronavirus hospitals are “indiscriminately” sending doctors and other medical workers in quarantine for 14 days. “This practice is causing unnecessary shortage of doctors and staff at hospitals,” Health Secretary Singla said.