Test positivity rate highest in 45 days; Delhi adds 175 Covid-19 cases

India — The Covid-19 test positivity rate on Monday was the highest recorded in the national capital since January 15, showed state government data.

Delhi added 175 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, on the back of 39,700 tests, leading to a positivity rate of 0.44%, the highest since the Capital saw the same rate on January 15.

While the positivity rate has continued to stay lower than 1% since the end of December last year, the marginal increase in the number comes amid what seem like new waves of the infection in at least five states in the country – Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Chhattisgarh.

Further, Monday’s high positivity rate – when numbers for Sunday’s cases and testing are reported – is also due to fewer tests conducted. Only 39,733 tests were conducted on the day, a sharp drop compared to an average of 61,000 tests conducted a day during the week.

To be sure, the number of tests usually sees a dip on weekends. There were 42,242 tests according to last Monday’s bulletin, recording a positivity rate of 0.30%. However, the Monday before that (January 15) there were fewer – 39,065 – tests conducted and yet the positivity rate had been 0.36%.

“We have to keep a close eye on the numbers. The increasing positivity rate indicates that the disease is spreading faster. However, with a seroprevalence of around 56% I am hoping that the number of infections will remain under control. The current infections might be in areas where some susceptible people remain. But, we need to keep an eye out for re-infections,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, head of the department of community medicine at Safdarjung hospital.

“We need to determine whether the current infections are in the susceptible population or is it because of a virus mutation,” said Dr Kishore.

“There is a laxity in the Covid-19 norms in Delhi now… This needs to change,” he said.

Experts have also called for faster pace of vaccination in areas witnessing an increase in the number of cases. Dr Randeep Guleria, director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences had told HT last week that people in the high-risk groups residing in regions seeing a spurt in infections should be immunised quickly “as it will help in decrease mortality and hospitalisations.”

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