Delhi under lockdown till May 31 (Ld)

Despite the Covid positivity rate in the national capital declining to 2.5 per cent and the single-day cases also reducing to around 1,600, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced the extension of the ongoing lockdown in the city until May 31 in view of the second wave of the pandemic.

Delhi has been under a lockdown since April 20 and during this period daily Covid cases were over 25,000 and the average positivity rate was above 30 per cent.

Addressing a press conference, Kejriwal said the second wave of the pandemic has been very dangerous and the Delhi government had imposed the after consultations with people from various sections.

“Daily cases are still above 1,000. So, we are extending the lockdown till May 31, 5 a.m. If cases keep decreasing like they are right now, we will start the process of unlocking next week. We will not open everything at once. Unlocking will be gradual,” he said.

Delhi reported around 1,600 cases in the last 24 hours with the positivity rate dipped to around 2.5 per cent.

On Saturday, 2,260 cases were reported and the positivity rate was 3.58 per cent.

Sunday is the third straight day Delhi’s daily positivity remains below 5 per cent.

Delhi’s vaccination drive for those in the 18-44 age group has however, come to a halt as the national capital has run out of jabs.

Kejriwal said he was sure that the city would get help from the Centre to combat the shortage.

“As of now, our top priority is to see how we can vaccinate people as quickly as possible. However, there is a shortage across the country. There is also an apprehension about a third wave. If we vaccinate everyone, we might be able to avoid it. I am personally speaking to vaccine manufacturers about the availability.

“We are ready to buy vaccines from any authorised company, irrespective of the costs involved. We are even willing to spend an amount that is equivalent to Delhi’s budget to get everyone inoculated,” Kejriwal added.

In Delhi, around 50 lakh people have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far.

While stocks are available for those above 45 in the healthcare and frontline workers category, Delhi has run out of vaccines for those in the 18-44 age group.

Kejriwal also lauded healthcare workers, who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.

“Doctors and nurses didn’t sleep for days. They have worked day in and day out to serve patients. Many of them have als succumbed to Covid. We are indebted to them and cannot repay what they have done.

“The Delhi government has decided to give Rs 1 crore to their families. I have been meeting the kin of the frontline workers who have succumbed to the virus,” the Chief Minister added.