NEW DELHI/15th November 2021/Rajesh Sinha
Have done solid work in curbing the spread of COVID; sero-surveys suggest Delhi’s largely safe if people take precautions and there’s no new strain of the virus: CM Arvind Kejriwal
Understand the difficulties Delhi’s facing; Europe seeing similar challenges in fighting pollution: H. E. Ugo Astuto
uropean Union Ambassador to India Ugo Astuto met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today. The Ambassador took note of Delhi’s fight against COVID-19 and efforts to reduce pollution.
The CM said that the Delhi Government has done solid work in curbing the spread of COVID; sero-surveys suggest Delhi’s largely safe if people take precautions and there’s no new strain of the virus.
He informed that 50% of Delhi’s eligible population is fully vaccinated and about 90% has taken at least one jab, and the government is working rapidly to vaccinate everyone.
The CM said that he is personally monitoring the trends of COVID and keeping an eye out for any situation where the graphs may seem to increase. He talked about how the Delhi Government has made great progress in reducing the state’s internal sources of pollution. He said that Delhi is one of the few cities where tree cover is rising despite the expansion of development.
The European Union to India Ambassador remarked that he understands the difficulties Delhi’s facing and Europe is seeing similar challenges in fighting pollution.
Ambassador of the European Union to India Ugo Astuto called on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the Delhi Secretariat today. Both the leaders had a healthy discussion over the handling of COVID-19 in Delhi as well as the prevailing situation of pollution.
Ugo Astuto appreciated the Kejriwal Government’s efforts in keeping COVID in control across Delhi. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took the opportunity to inform the Ambassador how Delhi’s Sero Surveys have shown great results. “We have done several Sero Surveys in Delhi.
These Sero Surveys help us identify what percent of our population has developed antibodies against COVID-19. In the latest survey we got some fantastic results. We have found out that 96% of the people of Delhi have developed antibodies to fight the existing strains of COVID-19. So at a layman level, unless there’s a new strain of the Coronavirus heading towards us, Delhi appears to be safe. This also means that of this 96% there would have been quite a few people who would’ve caught the virus but were not consciously aware of it because of its mild or asymptomatic nature.”
Chief Minister further went on to share how the Delhi Government is making great efforts in vaccinating its residents and said, “We have been actively working upon our vaccination programme as well.
The seriousness that we’ve shown to raise awareness and vaccinate our population has contributed significantly in keeping COVID-19 at bay. Till now about 50% of our eligible population has been fully vaccinated whereas about 90% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.”
Ugo Astuto took note of the current situation of COVID as well. In regard to this the CM informed him that the Delhi Government is constantly monitoring the cases as well as the trends of COVID and keeping an eye out for any situation where the graphs may seem to increase.
CM was keen to understand Europe’s experience with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and asked the Ambassador for his inputs in protecting Delhi from a similar scenario.
The Ambassador said that it largely depends on the rate of vaccination and ideally it should be easier to handle when most of the population has taken the jab.
The CM and Ugo Astuto further discussed the impact of air pollution on the state as well. Shri Ugo Astuto replied that the European Union is facing the same challenge as well with pollution and understands the difficulties that have come Delhi’s way.
Arvind Kejriwal also apprised the Ambassador of Delhi Government’s efforts towards controlling pollution throughout the year. “About 5,000 to 6,000 industrial units of Delhi were made to switch to Green Fuel in the form of PNG by the Delhi Government.
Earlier, these industries relied on heavily polluting industrial fuels so it was our top priority to make them switch over to healthier practices. Beyond this, we gave a huge push to tree transplantation in Delhi. So when the common trend is of seeing the tree cover go down with expansion of development, Delhi’s green cover is actually increasing.
We have gone from 20% to 22% of tree cover of late. There were two coal based power plants that were heavily polluting our air so we shut them down. We have also announced an electric vehicle policy to promote the use of EVs instead of fuel run vehicles.”
He added, “We have tied up with IIT-Kanpur to develop a real-time pollution identification mechanism which will help us know what source is causing pollution at what point of time so we can take immediate action over that information and put curbs. Additionally, Delhi is the only city which is running public transport completely on CNG and has stopped the use of polluting vehicles.”