Delhi: Omicron detected in 84% COVID-19 cases; red alert imminent?
As many as 84% of COVID-19 samples genome sequenced in Delhi on December 30 and December 31 involved the Omicron variant, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Monday. The testing was done in three labs, the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, the Lok Nayak Hospital, and the National Centre for Disease Control, Jain added. Delhi is the second-worst Omicron-affected region after Maharashtra.
- India's tally of Omicron cases has reached 1,700, with cases detected in 23 states and union territories.
- Maharashtra topped the list of worst-hit states, with 510 total Omicron cases, followed by Delhi (351 cases).
- Meanwhile, Delhi is also witnessing a steep rise in daily COVID-19 infections.
- On Monday recorded around 4,000 new COVID-19 cases, which is around 25% higher than Sunday's tally.
Though there is a spike in cases, the situation is under control as not many people are developing severe disease or require hospitalization, Jain said. Jain also maintained that there is no shortage of medical staff in state-run hospitals and clinics. Some experts have said infections would peak in a week, but it is only conjecture as of now, he added.
The national capital has been witnessing a steep rise in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. On Monday, Delhi reported around 4,000 COVID-19 cases, with a positivity rate of 6.5%, Jain said. Delhi reported 3,194 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, 15% higher than Saturday. Currently, a yellow alert—the first level or restrictions—is in force in the national capital.
After the positivity rate crossed 0.5% and stayed above it for two days, the Delhi government implemented the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). Under the GRAP, the yellow alert has been issued, leading to night curfew, closing of schools, colleges, movie theatres, and gyms. The GRAP mandates a red alert if the COVID-19 positivity rate stays over 5% for over two days.
A red alert means a total curfew on the movement of people, both at night as well as on weekends. However, there will be exemptions based on categories decided by the government. All non-essential shops and establishments will be closed. Malls and weekly markets will also be shut down. Except for the delivery of essential items, all restaurants and bars will be closed.
Under a red alert, hotels and lodges will be allowed to operate, but no banquet/conference will be allowed. While cinema halls, banquets, spas, yoga institutes are already closed under the current yellow alert, barbershops and beauty salons too will be closed if a red alert is issued. It will also lead to the closure of Delhi Metro and government offices providing non-essential services.