Delhi has reported six times lower hospital admissions due to the coronavirus this time as compared to the first wave of the pandemic, city Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Friday.
He also said construction workers need not worry as construction work will go on.
With a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi and its neighbouring cities, migrant workers and daily wagers fear that another round of lockdown will push them into a severe financial crisis from which they might never recover.
The city government has already announced weekend and night curfews, among other restrictions to check crowding, as the city is witnessing a record rise in the number of Covid cases, months after the second wave of the pandemic wreaked havoc on its health system and led to a lockdown, leaving many jobless.
“Compared to the first wave of the coronavirus, this time, the number of patients admitted to hospitals is six times lower…. Some health workers, including doctors, have tested positive, but in very small numbers,” Jain told reporters.
The Sir Ganga Ram hospital also said 15 of their healthcare workers, including five doctors, have tested positive for the viral disease.
“We have 53 Covid patients, including five doctors and seven nurses. Of the 53 patients, six are in the ICU, but due to some other diseases,” Chairman of the hospital Dr D S Rana said.
On the World Health Organization (WHO) describing the Omicron variant of the virus as “not mild”, Jain said only experts will be able to tell if it is mild or not.
“I can give you the data that I have. Delhi has 31,498 active Covid cases and only 1,091 hospital beds are occupied. When we had an equal number of cases the last time, around 7,000 beds were occupied,” he added.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said Delhi was the first city in the country to witness a surge in the number of coronavirus cases this time around as most of the international flights come to the capital.
“That is the reason we have implemented stricter measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 as compared to other states. Some people may say this is not needed but it is better than repenting later,” he said.
Jain said authorities have devised different levels of restrictions and alerts under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), keeping in view the severity of the infection caused by the Delta variant of the virus.
“A total of 15,000 cases a day would have meant 3,000 to 4,000 hospital admissions had this wave been driven by the Delta variant. Hospital admissions now are not even 10 per cent of it (the number of daily cases). So, there is a huge difference and we have to accept it,” he said.
When Delhi had 30,000 active cases the last time, 1,000 patients were on ventilator support as compared to 24 now, which means the severity of the infection is less this time, Jain added.
Asked why many patients who do not need oxygen support are admitted to hospitals, the minister cited the example of the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan hospital.
He said there are around 95 Covid patients in the hospital and only 14 of them need oxygen support, while the others have been admitted to the facility as they are suffering from problems such as cancer or kidney ailments, besides Covid.