New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The extended COVID-19-induced lockdown in Delhi will come to an end on May 24 and with the end of the restrictions, people have started speculating whether the Delhi government will extend the lockdown for another week or not. Since mid-April, the Delhi government has imposed a lockdown in the national capital owing to the high number of COVID-19 cases being reported in that month.

Now, the COVID-19 cases in the national capital have dropped significantly and the positivity rate has also declined from a record 36 per cent during the last week of April to 3.58 per cent today. However, if media reports are to be believed, the Delhi government is mulling to extend the lockdown for another week till June 1 despite the massive dip in cases and positivity rate.

Health experts including ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava and AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria have attributed the lockdown its strict implementation in Delhi behind the improvement in the COVID-19 situation. The lockdown measures helped curb the surge in cases and now the daily caseload has come down to 2,200.

However, the high daily deaths due to COVID-19 and the shortage of vaccines are matters of concern for the Delhi government. Delhi, during the last 24 hours, recorded 2,260 new COVID-19 cases, while 182 people succumbed to the virus in the same span of time. The current lockdown has been in force since April 19 when it was initially imposed for just six days. Thereafter, the lockdown was extended four times in view of the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain reportedly also said that the comfort level of positivity rate in Delhi will come when it reaches below 2 per cent and hinted at extending the lockdown for another week. Meanwhile, the government might announce some relaxations keeping in view the demands of the New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA), who suggested the opening of markets and private offices in an organised way.

"Although the positivity rate has reached a 5 per cent level now, the comfort level of positivity rate will come when it reaches below 2%. Decision on lockdown depends on several other aspects as well, so we are in process of discussion over those," Satyendar Jain as quoted by IndiaToday.

Meanwhile, another problem which is faced by the Delhi government is the shortage of vaccine for 18 above age group. Arvind Kejriwal today said COVID-19 vaccination centres for those in the 18-44 years age group are being closed in the national capital due to lack of doses and appealed to the Centre to provide more vaccines.

"From Sunday, all vaccination centres for youths in Delhi will be closed as stocks have run out", he said, adding that "Delhi requires 80 lakh doses a month to vaccinate its youth. But it only received 16 lakh doses in May. The Centre has further decreased Delhi's quota in June to 8 lakh doses".

However, the official announcement on whether the lockdown will be extended or not will be announced by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal likely by Sunday afternoon.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan