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Daily Briefing: Centre and Punjab order separate probes into PM’s security breach; No Omicron patient in Delhi ICU yet

While less people are ending up in the ICU during the Omicron wave of the Covid pandemic, the new variant is far from harmless. Omicron may cause less severe disease in most individuals, but because of its very high transmissibility, hospitals may get flooded.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 7, 2022 8:01:25 am
A look at the top news today, January 7, 2022.

Good morning,

Big Story

Under fire for the security breach that left the Prime Minister stranded on a flyover in the state for 15-20 minutes a day earlier, the Congress government of Punjab formed a two-member committee to inquire into the incident. In New Delhi, the Ministry of Home Affairs formed a separate committee to probe the security lapse. As the Centre and Punjab announced parallel probes, Anurag Thakur, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, said the government will take “big and tough decisions” over the matter. 

A day after the breach, PM Modi held a meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind who sought a “first-hand account” of the developments. BJP leaders, who had attacked the Congress and its government in Punjab for allegedly constructing “a scenario where the Prime Minister is brought to harm”, conducted special prayers in temples across the country for his safety and well-being.  

Punjab government officials have claimed that the last-minute disruption by protesters was one factor that stalled the PM’s convoy on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway. Facts, however, put a question mark on this. Some letters, accessed by The Indian Express, clearly warned police officials that protesters could block roads and urged them to make adequate security arrangements for the PM’s visit to Ferozepur.  

Only in the Express

As the country continues to grapple with a surge in Covid-19 cases, musician and author T M Krishna writes on what the pandemic has revealed about art in India. “In this two-year span when our social media face became our real self, portfolios conjured by social media, such as Content Creator and Influencer, have become much more impactful. People who are adorned with these titles behave in an artist-like manner and produce things that have a semblance to art. But are they artists, and are they creating art?” he asks.  

From the Front Page 

India on Thursday reacted sharply to China’s recent actions, calling the naming of places in Arunachal Pradesh a “ridiculous exercise” to support “untenable claims”; the writing of letters to Indian MPs for attending a Tibet event as “inappropriate” in “tone, tenor and substance”; and saying the bridge over Pangong lake is being constructed in areas under “illegal occupation by China”.  

As Covid-19 cases surge in the city — 15,097 new cases were reported on Thursday — fuelled mostly by the Omicron variant, data accessed from the Delhi health department show that none of the confirmed cases have required oxygen or ventilator support, or been admitted to the ICU so far. According to this data, there have been no Omicron deaths so far as well. 

Must Read 

A second year civil engineering student with right-wing leanings and a “very small circle of friends”, the Assam-baseed son of a grocery shop owner who spent most of his time “glued to his laptop”, a 21-year-old DU student arrested from his hometown after police tracked his phone and a 19-year-old woman known for sharing extreme content on social media. This was the group behind the controversial app where doctored photographs of Muslim women were uploaded with derogatory messages.

While less people are ending up in the ICU during the Omicron wave of the Covid pandemic, the new variant is far from harmless. Omicron may cause less severe disease in most individuals, but because of its very high transmissibility, hospitals may get flooded with those who remain unimmunised, those living with comorbidities, or those with suppressed immune systems. We take a look at the new variant and its possible impact. 

After a senior lawyer alleged in court that eight women had accused suspended CRPF DIG Khajan Singh of sexual harassment, the Centre has been asked by the Delhi High Court to produce all such complaints, if any, against him in the court. In 2020, an FIR was registered against Singh by a CRPF constable who accused him of raping her on multiple occasions since 2014. But in October, Singh was acquitted in the case after the woman retracted her statement. 

And Finally 

During a match against India four years ago, Dean Elgar was hit flush on the helmet grille by Jasprit Bumrah at the notorious Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Hardly anyone would have questioned the South Africa opener had he been dismissed swinging his bat in frustration. But Elgar, as he has throughout his career, showed that he is made of some rare alloy that just does not buckle. Four years later, his infallible grit remains.

Delhi Confidential: Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Thursday hinted that physical hearing may not resume in the Supreme Court for at least four to six weeks in view of the rising Covid cases. 

In today’s episode of ‘3 things’, we look at how Covid-19 cases are rapidly rising, how the Prime Minister’s security is planned, and the latest arrest in the GitHub case.

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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