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Covid-19: Delhi records zero death, 30 new cases; positivity rate 0.05%



Delhi recorded zero death due to COVID-19 and 30 fresh cases of the infection with a positivity rate of 0.05 per cent on Friday, according to data shared by the city health department.

The total number of coronavirus cases stood at 14,40,605 in the national capital. Over 14.15 lakh patients have recovered from the infection.

The death toll due to the coronavirus infection in Delhi stands at 25,095.

Four fatalities have so far been reported in the city this month — two on November 12 and one each on November 14 and November 15. Delhi reported four COVID-19 deaths in October and five in September.

The case positivity rate stood at 0.05 per cent on Friday, according to the latest health bulletin.

On Thursday, 47 fresh Covid cases were recorded in the national capital with a positivity rate of 0.08 per cent.

On Wednesday, 44 cases were recorded with a positivity rate of 0.07 per cent.

A total of 56,689 tests — 46,930 RT-PCR tests and 9,759 rapid antigen tests — were conducted to detect the infection a day ago, the bulletin said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Australia detects first Covid Omicron infections



Health officials in Australia said Sunday they had detected the Covid Omicron strain for the first time after testing two passengers from southern Africa who flew into Sydney.

The eastern state of New South Wales’ health authority said it had conducted urgent genomic testing and confirmed the new strain was present in two passengers who landed in Sydney on Saturday.

Both passengers came from southern Africa and arrived in Australia on a Qatar Airways flight via Doha, NSW Health said in a statement.

They tested positive for Covid shortly after arriving, leading to an urgent analysis for possible infection by the heavily mutated Omicron strain.

“The two positive cases, who were asymptomatic, are in isolation in the special health accommodation. Both people are fully vaccinated,” NSW Health said.

Another 12 passengers from southern Africa in the same flight did not test positive for Covid but have been placed in quarantine, it said. About 260 passengers and crew on the plane have also been told to isolate, the health authority said.

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Manish Sisodia warns Delhi residents on new covid variant, Omicron | Latest News India



Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday said the government was concerned about the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, and had asked various departments to accelerate the enhancement of infrastructure in the capital.

“In the context of the new covid variant, both worry and fear are important. The government is also concerned about the new variant. We have called for the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meeting. At the same time, the health department and other administrative departments are on high alert once again. We have alerted everyone and asked them to enhance the infrastructure with an accelerated speed now,” Sisodia said during a press briefing on Sunday.

The new variant of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19 – has been named Omicron by World Health Organisation (WHO). The variant, B.1.1.529, was first reported from South Africa to the WHO, which has tagged it as a ‘variant of concern’.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high-level meeting held on Saturday to review the present Covid situation, the Union health ministry has alerted all states and Union territories to buckle up and enforce intensive containment, active surveillance and maximum vaccine coverage.

Also Read: Gautam Gambhir receives another threat letter, third one in a week

Requesting people to avoid unnecessary interactions, Sisodia said one should assume that the variant might be present in the city already. “Even if one person with the new variant enters Delhi, it will not take much time to spread. We should assume that someone with the variant might have entered Delhi and the virus might be spreading among some people. However, we pray that this is not the case,” said Sisodia.

On Saturday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop flights from the countries affected by the omicron variant. “I urge Hon’ble PM to stop flights from those countries which are affected by the new variant. With great difficulty, our country has recovered from Corona. We should do everything possible to prevent this new variant from entering India,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief wrote on Twitter.

The new variant, believed to be more transmissible and immune-evasive, has prompted countries to impose travel restrictions. Apart from Botswana, Hong Kong, South Africa, the new variant has now been detected in the UK, Australia, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Isreal, the Netherlands etc.

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Covid-19 fallout: Flight to New York remains a dream



Propelled by a hedonistic whim, I fancied a celebratory sojourn in New York soon after retirement, which was due on September 30, 2019. Undeterred by hearsay that getting a US visa was an uphill task, I downloaded the DS-160 webpage to apply for a visitor visa on the verge of retirement. Interviews for the US visa are held at their embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. As I hailed from Chandigarh, I chose the US Embassy in New Delhi, as also the first available date for the interview.

The long queue at the gate of the US embassy signalled tough competition. Absorbed in observing the body language of fellow aspirants in the queue, I inched forward for security check. After the rigorous frisking, I was ushered into the interview hall to wait for my name to be called. There were many interview counters on one side of the hall. One applicant was called at a time at each of the counters. The expression of dejection or rejoice on the candidates’ face at the end of their interview indicated rejection or approval of their application. The withholding of passport by the embassy symbolised approval.

Eventually, my turn came. I responded confidently to the lucid queries, asked gently, about my job, the reasons for a US visit, my stay arrangements in the US, etc. The consular officer, an affable lady, concluded with a smile, “OK, Mr Gupta, you will receive your passport after a couple of days”. I thanked her courteously, beaming. The due diligence in filling in the D-160 electronic application had paid the dividends, I surmised. A few days after the interview and before my retirement, I was overwhelmed with exhilaration upon receiving my passport with the US visa affixed therein.

Initially, I intended to go to the US in October 2019 itself. But an NRI friend convinced me that the best season to travel to New York would be the spring season, which is the April-June quarter. So, the next year in February, I booked the flight to New York for the end of April 2020. Feeling upbeat, I started browsing the internet for a suitable hotel in Manhattan. Though the initial news about Covid-19 had started trickling, I never imagined it would jeopardise my trip. By each passing day, the threat of the pandemic started looming larger. Before the end of March 2020, all scheduled international flights out of India had been suspended. India was placed under prolonged lockdown. My air ticket was left in abeyance.

When Covid appeared to be abating by February 2021, I rescheduled my trip for NYC for the first half of May 2021. As if my trip was jinxed, the second wave of Covid, more lethal than before, struck our country at that very juncture. Scheduled international flights continued to be in suspension month after month. Broken-hearted, I finally requested the airline to cancel my ticket and refund the amount, which they graciously did. Covid-19 sure did shatter my post-retirement foreign dream as it would have done in the case of million others. [email protected]

The writer is a Panchkula-based retired banker

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