Three big cities in the country -- Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru -- witnessed huge spike in daily COVID-19 cases on Wednesday even as Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain claimed hospital admissions have stabilised indicating the current coronavirus wave peaked and cases may start declining soon.
Delhi reported 27,561 COVID cases, the second-highest single-day rise since the pandemic began, and 40 deaths on Wednesday.
Mumbai also saw a big jump in the daily coronavirus infections with the city reporting 16,420 new coronavirus positive cases in the past 24 hours, nearly 41 per cent more than a day before, while the fatality count grew by seven, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said.
Bengaluru reported 15,617 fresh Covid cases, a jump of 44 per cent as compared to Tuesday's count of 14,473 while Karnataka logged 21,390 new cases with a positivity rate of 10.96 per cent.
According to the Delhi government data, positivity rate in the national capital has increased to 26.22 per cent, the highest since May 4 when it was at 26.7 per cent.
The deaths recorded in Delhi on Wednesday are the highest since June 10 last year, when the national capital recorded 44 fatalities.
Delhi has already recorded 133 fatalities in the first 12 days of this month.
It had logged 54 fatalities in the last five months -- nine in December, seven in November, four in October, five in September and 29 in August. In July, the virus had claimed 76 lives in Delhi.
Wednesday's count of 27,561 fresh cases is the highest since April 20, when the city saw 28,395 infections. The total number of Covid cases reported in Delhi so far has risen to 16,17,716 while the death toll has mounted to 25,240.
Given that most of the patients who died due to COVID-19 in January so far were, the Delhi government has issued an advisory asking all hospitals to ensure that patients with comorbidities are duly attended by specialists.
The city currently has 87,445 active COVID cases of which 56,991 are in home isolation. A total of 2,363 patients are in hospitals.
Of 739 patients on oxygen support, 91 are on ventilator while 618 are in ICU.
The Delhi government's online yoga classes for coronavirus patients in home isolation kicked off on Wednesday.
"This is a brilliant initiative... to keep the people engaged in physical activities while they are in isolation," Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, he said the number of daily cases has been hovering around 20,000 for the last few days and the positivity rate has consistently been around 25 per cent.
"We have observed that the number of hospital admissions has stabilised in the last four to five days and only 2,209 of the 14,621 beds are occupied and 85 per cent of the beds are vacant," Delhi health minister told reporters.
"Plateauing of hospital admissions is an indication that the wave has peaked. We may see a decline in cases in two to three days," he said.
Jain added that most of those who have died in the ongoing surge of infections had comorbidities and very few deaths have taken place due to coronavirus.
"People with comorbidities are facing more problems, not many people are coming to hospitals for treatment of coronavirus," he said.
Intensifying its drive to check violations of COVID norms, the Delhi government On Tuesday issued over 5,500 challans over a total of Rs 1.10 crore fine was imposed.
Jain had told reported, earlier in the day, that COVID cases have started to decline in Mumbai and Delhi is likely to follow suit.
"This, however, does not mean that the threat of COVID has passed. People should strictly adhere to all guidelines so that the spread can be controlled as soon as possible," he said, adding if cases come down in the next couple of days, restrictions will be lifted.
Delhi's principal health secretary Manisha Saxena cautioned people against being complacent and urged them to take extra care of senior citizens.
"Omicron is probably milder, but it's a variant of COVID. We can't be complacent. Pay attention to any symptoms, measure SPO2 levels regularly, seek medical attention. Call the COVID helpline 1031 for guidance, and take extra care of senior citizens," she said in a tweet.
As many as 1,05,102 tests were conducted the previous day, including 85,349 RT-PCR ones. The number of containment zones stands at 20,878.
Mumbai reported 16,420 new coronavirus positive cases on Wednesday, around 41 per cent more than a day before, while the fatality count grew by seven, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said.
As compared to Tuesday, the city witnessed a single-day growth of 4,773 cases.
With this, the overall infection tally of the city rose to 956,287 and death toll to 16,420, it said.
After witnessing a drop in the daily COVID-19 cases for the last four days, the financial capital of the country has witnessed a rise in cases by 40.98 per cent, the BMC said in its bulletin.
Along with the increase in the daily cases, the COVID-19 positivity rate also surged to 24.38 per cent from 18.75 per cent on Tuesday.
Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said the rise in daily positive cases is due to revised national testing guidelines.
"Due to the recent change in the national COVID testing guidelines two days ago, where it has been directed that only symptomatic cases will be tested, it is likely to create a spike in positivity as most of the symptomatic cases would be almost confirmed positive cases," he said.
Bengaluru also witnessed big jump on Wednesday with the tech city reporting 15,617 fresh Covid cases, a spike of 44 per cent compared to Tuesday's numbers of 14,473 while Karnataka logged 21,390 new cases with a positivity rate of 10.96 per cent.
The state reported 10 deaths, out of which 6 were from Bengaluru.
Currently, there are 93,009 active cases in the state with Bengaluru amounting to about 73,000 of them. As many as 1,541 people were discharged in the last 24 hours.