One of the main factors behind the Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s (DDMA) decisions to remove the city’s masking mandate – the last remaining Covid-19 mitigation measure in place in Delhi at the time — was the city’s strong inoculation numbers, aside from low daily numbers of infections and hospitalizations, state officials familiar with the matter said.
Read also | Covid-19: No more fines in Delhi for not wearing a mask in public
State government data viewed by HT shows that around 13.5 million adults (more than 91% of Delhi residents aged 18 and over) in the nation’s capital have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 .
Additionally, 111% of the city’s registered population has been inoculated with a vaccine, the data vaccine. Officials said the excess was likely due to residents of Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Faridabad and other cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) receiving their beatings in Delhi.
Meanwhile, 94% of residents aged 15 to 17 took the first dose and 74% took both. In the 12-14 age group, for which vaccinations began on March 16 this year, 53% of residents received the first dose.
The Delhi health department issued an order on Friday removing the need to impose fines on people not wearing masks in public places, a day after the Delhi Disaster Management Authority agreed to lift the rule following a significant improvement in the Covid. -19 location.
“The city’s widespread vaccination coverage was one of the reasons for the decision to lift the mask mandate, along with the low number of cases and the number of vacant hospital beds, a DDMA official said.
The official however added: “While there are no fines for people not wearing a mask in public places, wearing a mask is still recommended, especially for people with respiratory illnesses,” the official said. .
Several countries around the world, including the UK, Canada, Singapore and several US states, have relaxed their masking mandates, banking on immunity acquired either through vaccination or past infection, while a much of the globe is emerging from the Omicron wave of the pandemic.
A group of Indian states, including Telangana, Maharashtra and West Bengal, have also relaxed their masking standards in recent days.
The number of Covid-19 cases in the nation’s capital has fallen sharply since daily numbers hit a crescendo in mid-January, amid a surge fueled by the Omicron infection wave.
At the height of the fifth wave, Delhi added 28,867 new infections on January 13, while active cases peaked at 94,160 on the same day.
By comparison, Delhi reported 114 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday and had just over 500 active Covid-19 cases. More than 99% of the beds reserved for the treatment of Covid-19 remain free.
As of 3 p.m. Sunday, Delhi has administered 32,693,381 doses of the Covid vaccine, of which 17,834,745 are first doses and 14,356,029 are second doses. The remaining 502,607 are precautionary doses given to people aged 60 and over.
A health department official said Delhi is seeking to fully vaccinate its population as soon as possible.
“We are paying special attention to recipients who have not yet taken the second dose,” a health department official said.
While Covishield is a two-dose vaccine, with each injection given 12-16 weeks apart. Covaxin is given in two doses with an interval of four to six weeks, while the jab Corbevax (only for children aged 12 to 15) requires a period of 28 days between doses.
An East Delhi district official said several people in the area missed the deadline for the second dose.
“We are contacting them and informing them that it is important to take the full course of vaccination to develop antibodies capable of fighting the coronavirus infection,” the official said. He added that people say they missed the second dose due to lack of awareness or a personal emergency.
Meanwhile, experts backed the decision to lift all restrictions, including the mask mandate.
Dr Jugal Kishore, head of community medicine department at Safdarjung Hospital, said high Covid vaccination and high percentage of natural infection will both protect Delhi residents from the severity of future infection to coronavirus. “It is possible that cases may increase at times in the future, but the majority of cases will be mild in nature and recovery is likely to be very rapid. Therefore, in the current situation, Delhi is quite safe,” Dr Kishore said.
Dr Sanjay Rai, a professor at the Center for Community Medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said there is global evidence to prove that where natural infection is high, the risk of transmission of Covid is decreasing.
“When people have acquired natural immunity, they also acquire higher antibodies. So when I come into contact with the virus, with my antibodies, my chances of getting infected will be low but my antibodies will still increase. Making masks optional is a welcome move. However, those who are comorbid or immunocompromised should be careful,” Dr. Rai said.