The deadly dengue viral enveloped 40 more people in the Indian capital Tuesday, taking the total cases to over 500, but the authorities stated that the situation did not warrant declaring it an epidemic.
"We will do our best to curb this menace. Our hospitals are well equipped to deal with the situation, hence there is no need to declare dengue as epidemic," said Health Minister Yoganand Shastri.
At an emergency cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, the government decided to ask its ministers to closely monitor the situation. Eleven people have died of the mosquito-borne disease in the city.
Finance and Planning Minister A.K. Walia is to oversee the availability of dengue medicines in the capital, said officials in the chief minister's office.
Labour and industries minister Mangat Ram Singhal is to visit industrial areas to create awareness among the people to curb the breeding of mosquitoes. Education Minister A.S. Lovely will be in charge of the populous east Delhi.
Extra beds and many blood-testing kits will be made available at hospitals, Shastri told reporters.
According to him, the city witnessed over 10,000 cases of dengue in 1996.
"The chief minister asked all of us to do whatever is possible to curb the dengue outbreak. Hospitals will also be held responsible for any irregularity," NDMC health director S.K. Garg told IANS.
"Sanitation officers at hospitals have been asked to step up surveillance and keep a close tab on the hygienic condition of their campuses," Garg said.
Meanwhile, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) reported over 50 cases of dengue - 12 new cases since Monday. Twenty of those affected are students, resident doctors and staff. On Saturday, seventh semester student Kamal Raj Kiran died of dengue.
A 125-bed special dengue ward has been set up at AIIMS, said hospital authorities. On Monday, the hospital began a two-day blood donation camp to deal with any blood shortage.
The dengue virus is spread through the bite of the female Aedes mosquito, primarily Aedes Aegypti, which breeds in clean stagnant water.
To control the dengue menace, the Delhi government has hired 2,400 temporary workers, apart from over 3,000 working for MCD, to intensify surveillance of potential breeding grounds and launch fogging of anti-mosquito drugs.