COVID-19 cases in Delhi mount to 1,640; govt to conduct tests on people delivering essentials

Survivors of the 1984 toxic gas tragedy are more vulnerable to the coronavirus infection and need special care, officials said.

A day after a 19-year-old pizza delivery boy was tested positive for coronavirus, the Delhi government on Thursday (April 16) said it will conduct COVID-19 tests on people engaged in delivering essentials like food as the number of novel coronavirus cases mounted to 1,640 in the national capital after 62 fresh cases and six deaths were reported, the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities in a day.

The government has decided to conduct COVID-19 tests on those engaged in delivery of food and milk as soon as the rapid anti-bodies test kits are received by it, the officials said.

Of the total cases, 1,080 are those who have been brought to facilities through special operations, the same as on Wednesday. Government authorities had last month carried out measures to quarantine people who were related to a religious congregation that took place in Nizamuddin in March. By Wednesday night, the number of cases of the deadly virus in the city stood at 1,578 including 32 deaths.

With six more fatalities reported, the death toll from COVID-19 in Delhi has jumped to 38. Out of the total cases, 51 have been discharged and one has migrated out of the country, authorities said.


Of the total cases, 83 were those who had travelled abroad and 342 people were the ones who had come in contact with COVID-19-infected persons, they said.The number of containment zones in Delhi till Wednesday stood at 56.

Over 2,000 delegates, including from Indonesia and Malaysia, attended the Tabligh-e-Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin West from March 1-15, as the south Delhi neighbourhood was virtually sealed earlier following fears that some people may have contracted COVID-19.

Civic authorities have carried out mass sanitisation and disinfection drive in hotspot areas in the last few days using drones and other measures. Houses in containment zones are being surveyed by medical teams and people were made aware about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, methods of prevention, social distancing measures, importance of hand washing, the Delhi health department said.

South Delhi District Magistrate B N Mishra said, “In view of the incident, we are considering that all those involved in home delivery of food are put through clinical screening so that those showing symptoms are stopped from visiting homes.”

Addressing an online briefing, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the clinical trial of plasma enrichment technique to treat severely-ill coronavirus patients will begin in the next three to four days. Under the plasma enrichment technique, antibodies from the blood of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 are used to treat severely infected patients. It is aimed at assessing the efficacy of convalescent plasma to limit complications in COVID-patients.

The chief minister said the Delhi government had on Tuesday received permission from the Centre to conduct the trial of plasma technique. He said the condition of several COVID-19 patients, who were admitted to hospitals in the last week of March and first week of April, is improving and many of them will be discharged soon. He said, “If the trial of plasma technique is successful, we will be able to save the lives of serious COVID-19 patients.” Highlighting that some other states such as Kerala and Maharashtra too were working on it, Kejriwal said, “Our efforts will succeed”.

House-to-house surveillance activities are being carried out in identified cluster containment zones, and a total of 1,825 samples have been collected from different clusters and sent for testing, it said.

According to the department, out of the total 1,640 cases recorded so far, at least 885 are admitted at hospitals like LNJP Hospital, GTB Hospital, RML Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH) and AIIMS Jhajjhar. Thirty-four of them are in ICU and six on ventilators.

Total number of COVID-19 samples sent till date stands at 18,784 the department said in the statement. As many as 2,571 have been kept in quarantine at various government facilities, it said. As many as 30,983 people who came in contact with affected persons, are under home quarantine till date and 18,722 have completed their 14-day quarantine, they said.