Rising COVID-19 cases prompt screening of all New Delhi residents

House-to-house screening targeting entire 22 million population to be carried out by July 6 in worst-hit Indian city.

Delhi corona testing
A medical technician collects swab samples at a coronavirus testing centre in New Delhi [EPA]

India is to conduct house-to-house coronavirus screening of all 22 million residents of capital New Delhi, which has passed Mumbai to become the country’s worst-hit city.

Officials will visit each household to record each resident’s health details during the next two weeks and administer a test for the virus to those who show or report symptoms, Delhi government officials said.

The exercise will be completed by July 6, according to a plan issued by the Delhi government, as the city recorded more than 70,390 confirmed cases.

The annoucement came as India on Thursday registered another record 16,922 cases, taking the total to 473,105, making it the fourth worst-hit country in the world.

The federal health ministry also reported another 418 deaths, taking fatalities to 14,894. The ministry said the recovery rate was continuing to improve at 56 percent.

Delhi corona testing
Health workers wearing personal protective equipment carry the body of a person who died from COVID-19 to a crematorium in New Delhi [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

In New Delhi, police will be deployed to enforce physical distancing and prevent the mixing of the population inside more than 200 containment zones where large clusters of cases have been confirmed. CCTV or drone monitoring will also be used.

Police will have to ensure strict perimeter control and “absolute restriction of outward and inward movement of the population,” the city government said.

Delhi’s city government has projected that cases in the capital area alone could expand to more than half a million by late July, and is considering taking over luxury hotels and stadiums to convert into field hospitals.

Armed forces personnel are providing medical care and attention to coronavirus patients kept in railway coaches that have been turned into medical wards at nine locations in the capital.

The health ministry said it has ramped up testing to more than 200,000 people per day across the country, raising the total number of samples tested so far to nearly 7.3 million.

India’s financial capital of Mumbai and manufacturing hub Chennai are also among India’s hardest-hit areas.

The premier Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai announced it would scrap all face-to-face lectures for the rest of the year due to the pandemic, becoming the first major educational institution in India to do so.

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies