Delhi Police use thermometer gun to screen people at Daryaganj vegetable market, amid Corona Lockdown. (Photo Credit: News Nation Photo)
The total number of corona virus cases in Delhi crossed the 2,500 mark on Friday, even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that plasma therapy conducted on four COVID-19 patients has yielded "very encouraging" initial results, giving a ray of hope to those critically ill.'' According to the health bulletin, 136 fresh cases were reported in the national capital, taking the total number of cases to 2,514. With three fresh fatalities, the tally of those who succumbed to the disease rose to 53.
The fresh cases also included an assistant sub-inspector of the Delhi Police, posted at the crime branch. So far, more than 21 police personnel have tested positive for coronavirus. A total of 31 staff of Delhi government-run Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital, including 11 doctors, have tested positive, a senior official of the facility said. Two sanitation workers of the south Delhi MCD have also tested positive, officials said.
In the north Delhi MCD, one assistant sanitary inspector has tested positive, while 39 of his co-workers have been advised home quarantine. At the gastroenterology department of the AIIMS, 40 healthcare staff, including doctors and nurses have been advised self-quarantine after a 30-year-old male nurse tested positive for COVID-19. Forty-nine patients recovered from the disease, taking the total number of those who successfully defeated it to 857, the bulletin said.
Of these, 802 have reported recovery since April 18. Doctors at LNJP Hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 facility in Delhi, attributed this to patient care and also the will power of people to brave through this crisis. Many have managed to pull through, despite being above 60 years, and having co-morbidities, a senior doctor said. In a positive development, plasma therapy treatment on four patients has been encouraging, Kejriwal said.
In an online briefing, he said more clinical trials of plasma therapy will take place over the next two-three days, and his government will seek the Centre's nod next week for using the technique on all critically-ill COVID-19 patients in the city. "Ten days ago, we had got permission from the central government to conduct clinical trial of plasma therapy only on four serious COVID-19 patients admitted at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.
"The initial results are every encouraging and good. It gives a ray of hope to save people's lives from coronavirus," he said. He was joined by S K Sarin, the director of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Science, at the press conference. The four patients who were given plasma therapy have shown improvement in their health condition, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation. Two of the four patients, whose condition was serious, have now been shifted to general ward from the ICU and two others are also responding well, he said.
The chief minister, however, said that these are only initial results and nobody should think that the government has found a cure for corona virus. In the plasma therapy, antibodies from the blood of a patient, who has recovered from COVID-19, are used to treat serious patients. Kejriwal appealed to all people who have recovered from the disease to come forward and donate plasma for serious COVID-19 patients to save their lives.
The number of containment zones in Delhi stood to 92, with three new zones being added in various areas, authorities said. On the other hand, the Mansara Apartment in east Delhi's Vasundhara Enclave that was declared a coronavirus containment zone has been de-sealed after no new cases were reported over past few weeks. Amid the curbs, the Delhi Police said azaan may be carried out in accordance with the National Green Tribunal guidelines and urged people to follow the lockdown norms during the holy fasting month of Ramzan, beginning Saturday.
The police's appeal comes soon after a video surfaced on social media where two policemen were purportedly telling people that azaan was not allowed during the lockdown as per the lieutenant governor's order. The Delhi Minorities Commission also raised the issue with the Delhi government, while AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan shared the video. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia clarified that there is no restriction on azaan (call for prayer).