science writer explains why Coronavirus is lab-made. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, May 26 : While the capital is already battling the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, delay in action against vector-borne diseases by the civic authorities could prove another challenge for the people of Delhi.

According to the Delhi Municipal Corporations (MCD), so far 25 dengue cases have been reported in the city, of which 2 cases of dengue were reported in February, 5 in March, 10 in April and as many as 8 cases have been registered till May 22. This is the highest number of dengue cases in the capital in the January-May period, since 2013. However, no death has been reported in the city due to dengue so far this year, civic authorities claimed.

Apart from dengue, as many as 8 cases of malaria and 4 of chikungunya have also been registered during the same period. Cases of vector-borne diseases are usually reported in Delhi between July and November. The period may stretch till mid-December.

According to the data released by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), between January to May a total of 10 dengue cases were recorded in 2016, 19 cases were reported in 2017, 15 in 2018, 11 in 2019 and 18 in 2020.

With the vector-borne diseases having emerged, Delhi's civic authorities -- North, East and South -- said they have geared up for the battle against the spread of dengue and other such diseases.

Jay Prakash, Mayor of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, said a campaign for the prevention of vector-borne diseases will be launched from May 30. "We are going to start a campaign to prevent vector-borne diseases in the jurisdiction. North DMC's employees will go door to door to check the larvae of dengue, malaria and chikungunya as well as to make the citizens aware." He said that in the second phase, the work of releasing Gambujia fish in the reservoirs will be done so that the mosquitoes larvae can be eliminated in the biological form. In the third phase, fogging and spraying of anti-mosquito medicine in large drains will be done.

However, door-to-door visits to check mosquito larvae breeding may not be easy for civic employees at this time when the people are scared due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are not allowing the entry of outsiders.

Dr Lallan Verma, a senior Medical Health Officer in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, said it is proving to be a very challenging task for civic employees to check for mosquito larvae in homes as the situation is very different from last year.

"Despite various challenges, SDMC's workers are making all possible efforts to make the people aware. But the civic authorities cannot do everything alone to prevent vector-borne diseases and people's participation is very crucial. People have to ensure no water storage inside their homes." He said that 25 cases of dengue is not a big issue, but people need to be more alert and they must follow the civic authorities' advisory to protect themselves from vector-borne diseases.

A senior official in the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) said, "Health workers have been spreading anti-mosquito chemicals in residential colonies and drains. There is also a shortage of health workers as the same workers are deployed for vaccination and other health management tasks."

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