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Coronavirus: Delhi cases surge past 11,000-mark even as government identifies zones

The coronavirus death toll in Delhi has climbed to 176. Of the total number of deceased patients, 92 were over 60 years and above, accounting for over 52% of the fatalities.

Coronavirus Delhi cases surge past 11,000-mark even as government identifies zones
New Delhi, First Published May 21, 2020, 9:48 AM IST

New Delhi: The number of coronavirus cases in Delhi crossed the 11,000 mark on Wednesday night with 534 more people testing positive, while the death toll climbed to 176, even as the city government launched its exercise to define "red, orange and green zones" for relaxation in lockdown restrictions.

It was the highest single-day rise in cases so far in the national capital. The previous highest spike of 500 was recorded on May 19.

A bulletin issued by the Delhi health department said the death toll from coronavirus infection has risen to 176, and the total number of cases has mounted to 11,088.

It, however, added the cumulative death figure refers to fatalities where the primary cause of death was found to be COVID-19, as per the report of the Death Audit Committee on the basis of case sheets received from various hospitals.

Amid a rise in the coronavirus cases and a gradual fall in the number of containment zones in the national capital, the health department has also directed all district magistrates to identify containment zones in their areas as per the existing guidelines.

The number of containment zones has reduced to 69, the health bulletin said.

Earlier this week, the Centre gave power to the states and union territories to define their own zones based on the coronavirus cases, but said it should be done after taking into consideration parameters shared by the ministry of health and family welfare.

Accordingly, the Delhi health department started work to demarcate ''red, orange and green'' zones based on the number of novel coronavirus infections in particular areas, sources said.

The move is expected to give momentum to economic activities that resumed to some extent in the national capital from Tuesday after the third phase of lockdown ended.

The Delhi government had demanded that based on coronavirus case load, the municipal wards should be categorised and not districts.

All 11 districts of the city are currently in ''red'' zone according to the Union health ministry's recent classification parameters, which has made life difficult for Delhiites due to greater restrictions on activities as compared to ''orange'' and ''green'' zones.

"The exercise will be done either based on ward level or containment zones," the source said.

The city saw significant resumption of economic activities on Wednesday.

In further easing of the curbs, Lodhi Garden, Nehru Park and Talkatora Garden in the Lutyens area will reopen for public from Thursday for jogging and running activities after being closed for over two months in view of COVID-19 lockdown, the New Delhi Municipal Council said.

While only jogging, walking and running will be permitted in the parks, no open gym or yoga will be allowed. Persons above 65 years and children below 10 years will not be allowed to enter the premises.

The parks will be open between 7 am to 10 am in the morning and 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm in the evening for the purpose.

On the second day after economic activities resumed in Delhi, there was traffic congestion at several spots like the ITO and on the city borders, especially in the morning and evening hours.

The barricades on the roads erected by the police further aggravated the problems in some areas.

While announcing the relaxations for the fourth phase of coronavirus-triggered lockdown earlier this week, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that both government and private offices can operate with full strength.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to seek a written explanation from those employees who do not attend office for two consecutive days.

On the transport front, the government has directed the drivers of public transport buses not to drive if the number of passengers is above 20 and call the police if the extra persons do not deboard.

According to the relaxations announced by the Centre during the extended lockdown, Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses cannot carry more than 20 passengers.

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said stringent action will be taken against the conductors, drivers and marshals if more than 20 people are found travelling in the buses.

On the other hand, with people keeping indoors and venturing out only for urgent needs, drivers of paratransit vehicles like autorickshaws, e-rickshaws and taxis are struggling to find passengers and make ends meet.

The compulsion to follow social distancing norms and sanitising the vehicles to combat coronavirus has only added to their financial woes, the drivers said.

"I started at around 8 AM from Preet Vihar. I did not find any passenger for two hours.

"I had to say no to a woman and her daughter near the Nirman Vihar Metro Station because of the government''s one passenger norm,” auto driver Abhay Kumar said on Wednesday.

With PTI Inputs 

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