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Delhi News highlights: Delhi logs 15,097 new Covid-19 cases, 6 deaths; positivity rate climbs to 15.34%

Delhi News Highlights: With the latest addition, the cumulative caseload has gone up to 14,89,463 while the death toll rose to 25,127. The number of active cases in the capital now stands at 31,498.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 7, 2022 10:09:05 am
Beds being readied to handle Covid-19 situation at Shehnai Banquet Hall outside LNJP Hospital in New Delhi. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Delhi on Thursday reported 15,097 fresh Covid-19 cases and six deaths, as the positivity rate also shot up to 15.34 per cent. With the latest addition, the cumulative caseload has gone up to 14,89,463 while the death toll rose to 25,127. The number of active cases in the capital now stands at 31,498. Almost 1 lakh tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. Delhi had on Wednesday reported 10,665 fresh Covid-19 cases and eight deaths with a positivity rate of 11.88 per cent. With one more case of Omicron variant reported, the tally of such cases has risen to 465 in Delhi.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had said that the national capital is expected to log over 14,000 cases on Thursday, while adding that the Covid situation in the city was under control. “Delhi in a comfortable position in terms of hospital bed occupancy. No need for lockdown right now,” he said.

Meanwhile, the High Court Thursday asked the Delhi government to inform it about the spread of Omicron in Delhi and said that it would like to know the percentage of severe cases among those infected with the new variant. The court sought to know about the number of Omicron cases among the patients who are in ICUs, on ventilators or need oxygen support. The Delhi government submitted that it will apprise the court about the exact position in the city on the next date of hearing, which is February 1.

In other news, a massive fire broke out at Lajpat Rai Market in Chandni Chowk on Thursday morning. At least 12 fire tenders were rushed to the site. Luckily, no casualties were reported, but several shops are said to have been gutted. According to Delhi Fire Services (DFS), the blaze started from a shop at the Lajpat Rai market opposite Red Fort. Atul Garg, DFS chief, said, “We received a call at around 4.45 am about the fire. The team rushed to the spot and 12 fire tenders were deployed. The fire spread to a few other shops which were gutted.

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Delhi news highlights: Delhi logs 15,097 new Covid-19 cases, 6 deaths, positivity rate climbs to 15.34%; Delhi HC asks about status of Omicron in capital; Fire breaks out at Chandni Chowk market; Delhi first to tighten Covid curbs, orders weekend curfew.

22:30 (IST)06 Jan 2022
1,116 out of 12,104 oxygen beds in Delhi hospitals occupied

A total of 1,142 Covid-19 oxygen beds out of 12,156 beds are occupied in Delhi hospitals, while 71 ICU beds with ventilators have patients, with hospitals saying that a majority of hospitalised patients are those with comorbidities and elderly.

Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) hospital's medical director Suresh Kumar said only four coronavirus patients are on ventilator support at the facility and they have comorbid conditions. The hospital at present has 35 patients who are suspected to have contracted the Omicron variant of the virus. Their genome sequencing reports are awaited, while 150 patients infected with the variant of concern have been discharged from the hospital since December 1.

Meanwhile, Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain allayed fears about the numbers showing on the Delhi Corona mobile application and said most of the hospital beds in the city are oxygen beds and a patient occupying an oxygen bed does not necessarily mean that he requires the life-saving gas. He also said of the 750 beds in LNJP hospital, 500 are oxygen beds. The minister noted that the discrepancy in the data on hospital bed occupancy on the Delhi Corona app and the government's health bulletin is because "most beds in the hospitals have been converted into oxygenated beds". (PTI)

22:28 (IST)06 Jan 2022
DU Teachers' Association holds strike over funds

Several teaching and non-teaching staff of the Delhi University on Thursday participated in a day-long strike called by the DU Teachers' Association (DUTA) against the alleged funds cut of 12 colleges by the city government.

Aam Aadmi Party MLA Atishi, who is the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Education (Delhi Vidhan Sabha), called the allegations "completely baseless and mala fide" and said the funds were released well ahead of time.

In a statement, the DUTA said the "unjustified funds cut" has resulted in non-payment of salaries to thousands of employees of these 12 colleges for the past two-six months and non-reimbursement of medical bills, allowances, arrears etc for the past two years thereby making these 12 colleges "financially sick". The protest was led by DUTA president Prof Ajay Kumar Bhagi, office bearers, DUTA executives and all the teaching and non-teaching fraternity of DU who boycotted online classes and administrative work. (PTI)

21:45 (IST)06 Jan 2022
'Bulli Bai' case solved with arrest of mastermind from Jorhat, says Delhi Police

An engineering student believed to be the "mastermind" and creator of the “Bulli Bai” app was arrested on Thursday from Jorhat in Assam and brought to the national capital where he confessed his role, Delhi Police said.

With the arrest of Niraj Bishnoi, 21, Delhi Police said in a statement it has solved completely the case related to hundreds of Muslim women being listed for "auction" on the "Bulli Bai" app on the Github platform.

Bishnoi, a resident of Jorhat who studies computer science engineering in Bhopal, is the fourth person to be arrested for their alleged involvement in the app. The other three, nabbed by Mumbai Police, include a 19-year-old woman from Uttarakhand, also alleged to be a prime accused in the case. (PTI)

21:44 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Delhi govt to deploy volunteers at fair price shops to ensure adherence to Covid norms

With a steep rise in coronavirus cases, the Food and Supply Department has decided to deploy volunteers to ensure health guidelines are followed by beneficiaries and the staff at all fair price shops in Delhi, an official statement said. These instructions were issued by Food and Supply Minister Imran Hussain after a high-level meeting of the department with other stakeholders of the public distribution system on Thursday.

"The minister directed the Food & Civil Supplies department officials to ensure that civil defence volunteers deputed at FPSs should monitor all the beneficiaries are wearing masks and are following social distancing norms," the statement said.

It added that Hussain also directed officials to ensure that FPS dealers adopt Covid-appropriate behaviour at all times during the ration distribution. He also said that coronavirus pandemic guidelines should be followed while lifting ration from godowns. (PTI)

21:13 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Gurgaon records 1,447 new Covid cases, positivity rate over 13%

Gurgaon on Thursday reported 1,447 fresh Covid cases, the highest single-day spike in the district in over seven months. On May 16, the district had reported 1,864 cases of Covid.

According to the district health bulletin, the active cases in the district are 4,220. In the last 24 hours, 10,748 tests were conducted in the district. Of the 4,220 active cases, 4,192 are in home isolation and 28 are hospitalised. Last week, nine people had been hospitalised.

Dr Jai Prakash, district surveillance officer, Gurgaon, said no new case of the omicron variant was reported on Thursday: “The positivity rate is over 13.4%. Of the 51 cases of Omicron variant reported in the district so far, three are active while the rest have all recovered and have been discharged.” Read More

21:06 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Delhi's air quality improves to 'poor' after rains; maximum temperature 21.1 deg C

Delhi's air quality improved to the "poor" category on Thursday due to intermittent rains while the city's maximum temperature settled at 21.1 degrees Celsius, two notches above the season's average.

The 24-hour air quality index (AQI) of Delhi read 258 at 4 pm on Thursday, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. The AQIs of its neighbouring cities -- Faridabad (219), Noida (252), Gurugram (224) -- were also recorded in the "poor" category. However, the AQI in Greater Noida (182) and Ghaziabad (179) was recorded in the "moderate" category.

The national capital's AQI at 8 am on Thursday was 339, which falls in the "very poor" category. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered "good", 51 and 100 "satisfactory", 101 and 200 "moderate", 201 and 300 "poor", 301 and 400 "very poor", and 401 and 500 "severe". (PTI)

20:29 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Uphaar evidence tampering case: In HC, Delhi police objects to release of Ansals

The Delhi Police Thursday told the High Court that it has serious objections to real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal being released in the Uphaar cinema evidence tampering case due to the coronavirus situation.

Justice Subramonium Prasad, who was hearing Ansals' plea for suspension of their seven-year jail terms in the evidence tampering case, suggested releasing them on interim given their advanced age and the Covid-19 situation, while asking the trial court to decide their appeals against the conviction. The judge also observed that even during the previous two waves of the pandemic, persons involved in offences for which the two petitioners are convicted, were released on bail.

Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for the prosecution, stated that the petitioners would get the benefit of any policy of release of inmates after it is formulated by the authorities concerned and assured that the jail doctors were taking all possible care of the petitioners who had “nothing special about them”. “Whether there is a second wave or a third wave, it is really something which is a policy decision and not about an individual person. A convict cannot be better than the other. When a policy (on release due to Covid-19 comes), they will get the benefit,” he submitted. The senior lawyer further stated that the nature of offences was such that the “entire system was put in peril” and medical condition of the petitioner during the pandemic cannot be a ground for their release after the suspension of sentence. (PTI)

20:26 (IST)06 Jan 2022
ASI monuments in Delhi to remain shut from January 6-20

In the wake of a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases, also driven by the new Omicron variant, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has said that centrally protected monuments under its Delhi circle will remain closed from January 6-20.

19:46 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Delhi HC asks about status of Omicron in capital

The Delhi High Court Thursday asked the Delhi government to inform it about the spread of Omicron in Delhi and said that it would like to know the percentage of severe cases among those infected with the new variant. The court sought to know about the number of Omicron cases among the patients who are in ICUs, on ventilators or need oxygen support. The Delhi government submitted that it will apprise the court about the exact position in the city on the next date of hearing, which is February 1.

“Your Chief Minister is also down now,” observed the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh during the hearing of a matter in which the court has been monitoring the Covid-19 situation in Delhi. 

Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the government responded, “Hopefully on his way to recovery. That seems to be an Omicron (case) as well”. (PTI)

18:37 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Delhi: 55, 979 teens in 15-17 years age group vaccinated today

Following is the data on vaccination coverage of 15-17 years age group till 5.30 pm of January 6.

17:49 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Covid surge puts a brake on Delhi govt's pilgrimage scheme for elderly

The surge in Covid-19 infections has put a brake on the Delhi government's Mukhya Mantri Tirth Yatra Yojna under which the elderly are taken to various religious sites, with a train scheduled to leave for the Velankani church in Tamil Nadu on Friday having been cancelled, officials said. Eleven train trips that were planned in January have been affected due to the pandemic. The train to Velankani on January 7 stands cancelled, said Kamal Bansal, chairman of Tirth Yatra Vikas Samiti.

"Further, trains of pilgrims, including those for Kartarpur Sahib route as well as Amritsar, Ayodhya and Rameshwaram later this month, have also been cancelled," Bansal said. "The decision to suspend the scheme for the time being has been taken due to rising number of Covid across the country. It will restart when the conditions are suitable," said a senior Delhi government officer.

Under the Mukhya Mantri Tirth Yatra Yojna, people aged 60 years and above are sent on pilgrimage on 15 routes fully sponsored by the Delhi government. The government pays for travel, accommodation and other expenses of each pilgrim who can also take along an attendant with them. The scheme, halted due to the second wave of Covid-19 last year, was resumed with a train of pilgrims leaving for Ayodhya on December 3. Pilgrims also went to Rameshwaram and Dwarka before the pandemic acted as a brake on the scheme. (PTI)

16:57 (IST)06 Jan 2022
2 markets in North East Delhi shut over violation of Covid protocols

In the wake of an exponential surge in Covid-19 cases, two markets in North East Delhi have been shut over violation of Covid-appropriate behaviour. (ANI)

16:44 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Trees of Delhi: Capital’s khirni trees tell tales of yore, predating even New Delhi

Some of Delhi’s shiny-leaved khirni trees can boast of having lived long lives.

The enduring trees stand in the courtyards of the dargahs of Hazrat Nasiruddin Mahmud Chirag Dehlavi in Chirag Delhi and Hazrat Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki in Mehrauli. These, going by local accounts, are hundreds of years old.

At the dargah in Mehrauli, two large khirni (Manilkara hexandra) trees stand inside the shrine, within a space that is not open to women, but can be spotted through latticed screens.

The khirni tree at the dargah in Chirag Delhi wears small, white flowers along some branches. A few leaves hang dry while others are on the white floors of the quiet dargah. The tree occupies pride of place in the courtyard of the dargah, and is the first thing that meets the eye from the entrance. Read More

16:43 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Delhi extends deadline for nursery admissions in private schools

With a surge in Covid-19 cases in Delhi, the last date for applying for admissions at entry level classes in the city’s private schools has been extended by two weeks, announced Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Applications for admissions to entry level classes— nursery, KG or class I as the case may be for different schools—had begun on December 15 and the last date for the same was decided as Friday, January 7.

“Keeping in view the prevailing Covid conditions, the last date for filing applications for admission in nursery/ entry level classes in private schools of Delhi is being extended for further two weeks,” Sisodia announced on Twitter. Read More

16:35 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Surging Covid cases hit Delhi tourism, stakeholders say business 'down by 60-70%'

The third wave of coronavirus pandemic in Delhi has hit the tourism and hospitality sector in the national capital hard with field experts and owners of travel agencies and hotels in the city reporting a 60-70 per cent dip in their businesses.

According to tourism sector experts, Delhi gets its maximum tourist inflow between October and April. Tourists, from across India and abroad, come to Delhi not only to visit the city and its historical landmark, but also use it as a gateway to nearby popular tourist hotspots such as Shimla, Manali, Agra, Mathura, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Nainital, Dehradun, Ajmer, Jaipur among others.

Delhi Hotel Mahasangh President Ajay Kumar Agarwal said that there are around 500 hotels only in Paharganj area and out of which only 350 were operating after the second wave. "The vicious cycle of restrictions due to COVI-19 and the subsequent impact on business has started again. Tourists have started cancelling their bookings and postponing their trips ever since the cases started rising in December 2021," Agrawal told PTI.

15:28 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Delhi court denies bail to private firm director for leaking ITBP exam papers on WhatsApp

Observing that leak of examination papers casts a negative impression over the capabilities of government agencies to conduct a fair examination, a Delhi court has denied bail to the director of a private firm for allegedly leaking examination papers related to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Khanagwal denied bail to the accused Jaydeep Goswami by saying: “It is also observed these days that such kind of leak of examination papers are rampant which casts a negative impression over the capabilities of government agencies to conduct the fair and impartial examination. Such acts will have serious repercussions.”

ITBP New Delhi outsourced the conduct of the written examination to the Indian Institute of Psychometry and it is alleged that the bail applicant, who was one of the directors of the firm that was responsible for the conduct of the examination, leaked the question paper and it was circulated on WhatsApp even before the conduct of the examination. Read More

15:26 (IST)06 Jan 2022
GitHub case: 21-yr-old engineering student arrested from Assam, Delhi Police say ‘main conspirator’

The Delhi Police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old engineering student from Assam for allegedly creating a website using GitHub, which published photographs of Muslim women alongside objectionable comments.

This comes days after a Delhi-based journalist lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police over her photo being misused on the website. At least 100 Muslim women were targeted in a similar fashion on the website, which was hosted on the US-based software development platform GitHub.

KPS Malhotra, DCP (Cyber Cell), said, “We have arrested the main conspirator and creator of the website. He was also running the main Twitter account of the website. Our team caught him from Assam. The team will reach Delhi around 3.30 pm.” Read More

15:12 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Delhi HC dismisses Subramanian Swamy's plea seeking to set aside Air India disinvestment process

The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's plea seeking to set aside the Air India disinvestment process on the allegation that the methodology adopted by the government in the valuation of the national carrier was "arbitrary, illegal and against public interest". The order was passed by a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh. The court said a detailed order will be uploaded. “Dr. Subramanian Swamy, sir we are dismissing this matter…,” the bench said.

Swamy has sought to set aside and revoke any action or decision or grant of any further approvals, permissions or permits by authorities with respect to the Air India disinvestment process.

On January 4, the court heard the arguments put forward by Swamy, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared in the matter on behalf of Talace Private Limited, and had reserved the order. Swamy also sought a CBI investigation into the role and functioning of authorities and the submission of a detailed report before the court. The plea was opposed by the counsel for Centre and Talace Pvt Ltd. (PTI)

13:03 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Main conspirator in women’s doctored photos app case arrested in Assam

The alleged mastermind in the GitHub case, where photos of Muslim women were uploaded on a website alongside disparaging comments, has been arrested, Delhi Police said Thursday. Read more. 

12:18 (IST)06 Jan 2022
Delhi likely to log over 14,000 Covid cases

Delhi is expected to log over 14,000 cases on Thursday, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said, adding that the Covid situation in the National Capital was under control.

“Delhi in comfortable position in terms of hospital bed occupancy. No need for lockdown right now,” he said.

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At the moment, some districts have seen complaints of elderly patients being asked to shift to government facilities, even if they want to isolate at home instead. The Indian Express spoke to several district officials, and while most said they were following the Union Health Ministry guidelines issued in April 2021, the current spurt in omicron has led to some amount of ambiguity.

Delhi daily Covid cases double, 7 of 8 deaths over 60 years, 3 double jabbed

Delhi recorded more deaths in a single day than it did in the months of September, October and November as Covid cases continued to surge, driven largely by the Omicron variant. A senior health official, however, told The Indian Express that of the eight who died in the past 24 hours, seven were above 60 and most had severe comorbidities. Three had received both doses of the Covid vaccine.

“Of the eight who died in the past 24 hours, three had received both shots of the Covid vaccine, but had significant comorbid conditions. Two were above the age of 75 with several other age-related complications. One patient was 59 years old but was suffering from a serious chronic disease. The rest were between the ages of 60 and 75,” said the official.

Delhi: Draft plan to reuse water, manage supply

The Draft Regional Plan 2041 for the NCR, which was recently made public, makes a slew of suggestions to deal with the supply, use, and reuse of water, and the management and use of water bodies in NCR.

It suggests exploring possibilities of bringing seawater through pipelines to Delhi-NCR “from the nearest seawater source,” to meet non-potable water requirements for large industries and commercial establishments, “so the freshwater available in NCR can be reserved for potable purposes”. To augment water supply, it also suggests that 300 tube wells can be constructed along floodplains in NCR.

The National Capital Region Planning Board, which functions under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, has invited objections to and suggestions on the draft plan by January 7.

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