Monday 27 June 2022
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Delhi bans Christmas, New Year gatherings despite mild Omicron

While scientists say Omicron spreads 70 times faster than the Delta variant of the China-origin coronavirus, the Delhi government would rather not take chances

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority issued an order today that proscribed all cultural events and gatherings for Christmas and New Year celebrations in the national capital in view of rising cases of Omicron mutant of the China-origin coronavirus despite the fact that scientists across the world are saying that while it transmits faster than Delta Plus, it is relatively milder in the potency of attacks on patients. The DDMA instructed the district magistrates to take all required measures in their respective jurisdictions to control the spread.

“All DMs and District DCPs shall ensure that no cultural event, gatherings or congregations take place for celebrating Christmas or New Year in NCT of Delhi,” the order says.

Delhi leads the Omicron tally with 57 cases, followed by Maharashtra (54), Telangana (24) and Karnataka (19), as per the government data.

The DDMA instructed all district magistrates to conduct an intensive survey of the entire area in their jurisdiction and identify the pockets which have the potential of becoming hotspots of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant. It also advised the officials to inform the Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) about the increasing trend of Covid-19 cases and the emergence of the new variant of concern.

“Since wearing of a mask is the most important in the fight against Covid-19, RWAs and MTAs should be advised not to allow their residents, shopkeepers and customers without the mask in their respective areas/public places,” the order says.

The DDMA has allowed restaurants, bars, and auditoriums to function at 50% capacity while putting a ceiling of 200 people in gatherings related to marriage.

Citing the earlier order restricting all social, political, cultural, entertainment and religious gatherings, the authority said that the restrictions are not being strictly followed. It directed the officials to conduct surprise checks and take strict penal action against violators as per the law.

Omicron replicates around 70 times faster than Delta and the original Covid-19 strain, though the infection severity is likely to be much lower, according to a University of Hong Kong study that adds weight to the early on-ground observations from South African doctors.

The supercharged speed of Omicron’s transmission in the human bronchus was found 24 h after the infection, according to a statement from the university a week ago. The study, conducted by a team of researchers led by Michael Chan Chi-wai, found that the newest variant of concern replicated less efficiently — more than 10 times lower — in the human lung tissue than the original strain which may signal “lower severity of the disease.”

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