Delhi’s Flawed Covid-19 Approach
The national capital Delhi registered the highest number of case fatality rates (CFR) in the country during the first three weeks of the ongoing month. Between May 1 to 21, Delhi’s CFR was at 2.54 per cent. In the said period, Delhi recorded 6,684 deaths, while 2.6 lakh cases were reported. In achieving this feat, Delhi has broken its own record. The present CFR is much higher than Delhi’s overall CFR of 1.63 per cent. More alarming is the fact that CFR is touching new heights at a time when strict lockdown has been imposed in the city for almost a month. It appears that the month-long curb has failed to provide any respite. According to many experts increase in CFR indicates that infected persons are not getting proper treatment. This is perhaps the reason why Maharashtra managed to keep CFR at 1.85 per cent despite having maximum number of Covid-19 positive persons in the country, whilst Delhi is not able to prevent deaths.
Now the moot question is when will the situation change in the national capital? Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is hopeful for respite soon as on May 22, CFR dropped below 2.5. But experts are not optimistic as there are various flaws in Delhi’s effort to combat Covid-19. During the first three weeks of the ongoing lockdown no restrictions were imposed on the Metro, the city’s lifeline. Thus, taking advantage of the uninterrupted Metro services, people went for joy rides and to visit friends and relatives, defeating the very purpose of the strict curb. Only after three weeks did the government realise the mistake and closed the Metro, but unfortunately the realisation came too late. Further, the increased CFR indicates lack of life saving medical equipment and medicines in Delhi.
In a bid to hide its failure in dealing with Covid-19, the Delhi Government is now issuing a slew of statements, some of which even caused serious impact on diplomatic relations between India and other countries. Recently, Kejriwal stated that a new Covid-19 strain originated in Singapore and the new variant is dangerous for children. He warned that the new strain would create havoc during the third wave and thus urged the Centre to stop air link between India and Singapore. As expected, Singapore vociferously denied the allegation. As the situation was about to go out of hand, India too distanced herself from Kejriwal’s statement stating that the Chief Minister did not ‘speak for India.’
The statement proves Kejriwal’s poor homework on Covid-19, he was unaware of the fact that Singapore is one on the few countries that successfully prevented the lethal virus from spreading. The island nation recorded just 30-odd deaths since early 2021. Moreover, the B.1.617.2 variant which is prevalent in many Covid-19 cases in the country originated in India. So, instead of showing vague concern, Kejriwal and his administration need to work harder and smarter to prevent Delhi from even further chaos.