Covid cases spiking in states, but hospital occupancy low; don’t panic: Govts

As daily new Covid-19 infections spiked to 27,553 in the 24 hours preceding Sunday, containment zones increased and state governments considered new curbs, even while instances of serious disease remained low.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said cases were increasing in the city, but there was no need to panic — the number of hospitalisations was still low, and “Covid was very mild now”.

Delhi recorded 3,194 cases — up from 2,716 reported on Saturday — at a positivity rate of 4.59%, and one death.

Kejriwal said that only 262 and 247 patients were admitted to hospital on December 29 and January 1 respectively, and 82 oxygen beds were occupied currently.

“This means that the cases that are coming in are very mild, or are asymptomatic and people do not need hospitalisation,” he said.

He however, underlined the need to behave responsibly. “We have to be responsible, wear marks, maintain social distancing and wash hands with soap.”

In Mumbai, 8,063 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, an increase of 1,883 in 24 hours. The daily positivity rate increased from 13 per cent on Saturday to 16.9 per cent on Sunday. Active Covid cases in Mumbai stood at 29,819 on Sunday, according to government data.

The number of people hospitalised with Covid-19, however, remains low. On December 27, of the 14,887 beds in the city, 1,960 were occupied; on January 2, with the bed capacity ramped up to 30,565, only 3,059 were occupied.

The sharp increase in daily cases has, however, led to a rise in the number of containment zones and sealed buildings. From zero containment zones on December 27, Mumbai had gone to nine on Sunday.

Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal said on Sunday: “I appeal to all the home quarantined patients to strictly abide by home quarantine guidelines so as to contain the spread of the virus in Mumbai at the earliest. I also appeal to citizens to strictly follow Covid appropriate behaviour.”

Kolkata has identified 11 potential micro containment zones, a final decision on which will be taken on Monday. There are no containment zones in West Bengal at present, and no buildings have been sealed in the current surge as yet.

A total 3,194 new cases were recorded in Kolkata on Sunday, about half of the 6,153 cases recorded statewide. But like in Delhi and Mumbai, hospitalisations remain low, with only 1,002 of the 22,945 available beds occupied.

West Bengal on Sunday announced restrictions on flights from Delhi and Mumbai to check transmission. From January 5, flights from these two cities will be allowed to land in the state only on Mondays and Fridays, Chief Secretary H K Dwivedi announced.

Karnataka recorded 1,187 new cases on Sunday, a sharp spike from a week ago. There were 10,292 active cases in the state, 8,671 of them in Bengaluru Urban alone, the state health department said.

The state also reported six deaths on Sunday — three from Bengaluru Urban and one each from Dakshina Kannada, Tumakuru and Uttara Kannada. The case positivity rate for the day was 1.08 per cent, while the case fatality rate was 0.50 per cent. In Bengaluru, the positivity rate over the last seven days has been 1.14 per cent.

Poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, where political parties have been holding large public meetings, reported 552 new cases in the 24 hours preceding Sunday. The total active cases in the state are now 1,725.

Gujarat reported 968 new cases within 24 hours on Sunday, 404 of them in Ahmedabad. On Saturday, 1,069 fresh infections were reported. No new case of infection with the Omicron variant was confirmed in the state on Sunday.

Bed occupancy in private hospitals in Ahmedabad remains low at 2.2 per cent. However, Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association president Dr Bharat Gadhavi cautioned: “If the rate of fresh infections continues, the number of admissions can also rise. Immune-compromised patients may require hospitalisation and there will be a sudden surge in bed occupancy.”

Rajasthan on Sunday decided to suspend regular teaching activities in schools in Jaipur from Monday until January 9 for classes 1-8.

The government also reduced the number of people who can attend weddings to 100 persons, without counting musical band members. It limited the number of people in funerals to 20 persons.

Night curfew between 11 pm and 5 pm every day will remain in place, the government said.

Rajasthan saw a total of 355 cases across the state on Sunday of which 224 were in Jaipur.

The test positivity rate in Goa touched 10.76 per cent on Sunday as the number of active cases rose to 1671. Of these, 388 cases were reported in the last 24 hours, and there was one death.

A tourist cruise ship that arrived in Goa was not allowed to dock at the Mormugao Port trust in South Goa after a crew member on board was found positive.

Inputs from ENS Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Panaji

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