tirupati l monday l january 24, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION NZ pm calls off wedding AMID OMICRON OUTBREAK Decision after DETECTION OF COVID CLUSTER Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday her own wedding plans stand cancelled as she announced fresh Covid curbs Good Track record of Managing Covid Ardern’s marriage with TV host Clarke Gayford was scheduled for next weekend. The couple had got engaged in 2019 and they have a two-year-old daughter. The decision to call off the wedding follows discovery of nine Omicron cases in a family that travelled to Auckland. Following this, it was decided that the entire country be placed under the highest level of Covid curbs ■ ■ ■ The fresh restrictions include a cap of 100 vaccinated people at events and mask wearing in shops and on public transport New Zealand has operated under strict Covid rules since the start of the pandemic, allowing it to keep deaths to a minimum It managed the Delta variant, with an average of 20 daily cases 93% New Zealanders over 12 years are fully vaccinated; 52% have got booster shots CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Govt accepts community transmission Further spread of Omicron is expected to happen internally and not from abroad E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ New Delhi The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has reached the community transmission stage in India and has become dominant in multiple metros where new cases have been rising exponentially, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) said in its latest bulletin on Sunday . The two-page bulletin of January 10, released on Sunday added that while most Omi, cron cases so far are asymptomatic or mild, hospitalisations and ICU cases are increasing in the current wave. It also said an infectious sub-variant of Omicron, BA.2, has been detected in a considerable fraction in India. “BA.2 lineage is a substantial fraction in India and S-gene dropout-based screening is thus likely to give high false negatives. Tests suitable for PCR based screening applicable to all Omicron lineages have been approved for use,” it said. As for the recently reported B.1.640.2 lineage, it is being monitored. “There is no evidence of rapid spread and while it has features of immune escape, it is currently not a variant of concern. So far, no case has been detected in India,” the bulletin added. India reported 3,33,533 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the active caseload to 21,87,205. While the daily positivity rate and weekly positivity rate stand at 17.78% and 16.87% respectively, the recovery rate is 93.18%. “Further spread of Omicron in India is now expected to be through internal transmission, not foreign travellers, and a revised sampling and sequencing strategy of INSACOG is being worked out to address genomic surveillance objectives in the wake of dynamic changing scenario of virus infection,” the bulletin added. INSACOG is a consortium of 38 laboratories under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that monitor the genomic variations in Covid-19. national Peak in 14 days? National peak expected in the next fortnight, a preliminary analysis by IIT-M’s Dept of Maths and Centre of Excellence for Computational Maths and Data Science said R-value is the number of people a Covid+ person can infect. It’s no longer a pandemic if R-value drops below 1 India’s R-value in in the Jan 14-21 week dropped to 1.57 R-value was 2.2 in Jan 7-13 week, 4 in Jan 1-6 and 2.9 in Dec 25-31 The R-value of Mumbai was 0.67, Delhi 0.98, Chennai 1.2 and Kolkata 0.56 NATIONWIDE Jan 22 Jan 23 Fresh cases 3,37,704 3,33,533 Recoveries 2,42,676 2,59,168 Deaths 488 525 statewide Jan 22 jan 23 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Samples tested 12,926 1,440 3,913 3,969 6 4 43,763 46,650 Police nab 3 red sanders smugglers, 55 woodcutters E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Nellore In a major breakthrough, Nellore police nabbed an interstate gang involved in red sanders smuggling after conducting a raid at Budhanam Toll Plaza on NelloreChennai highway in Chillakur mandal on Saturday. The police arrested 58 persons, including three smugglers and 55 woodcutters in the raid. About 45 red sanders logs meant to be exported to China from various stock points in Tamil Nadu were seized. One truck, 31 mobile phones, 24 axes and other equipment used for chopping red sander trees were also seized in the raid. The three smugglers were identified as O Damu (59) from KVB Puram mandal in Chittoor district, R Palani (41) from Puducherry and K Subrahmanyam (55) from Vellore in Tamil Nadu. Disclosing the arrest of the interstate gang to mediapersons here on Sunday , Superintendent of Police Ch Vijaya Rao said Damu, who incurred heavy loss in oil tanker business, started working as a cleaner of a truck belonging to Subrahmanyam. He decided to earn easy money by indulging in red sanders smuggling. Damu and Subrahmanyam visited Puducherry and contacted P Velumalai to get woodcutters for axing red sanders trees. P4 German navy chief in Ukraine mess resigns Ex p r ess N e ws Serv i c e @ New Delhi German navy chief vice admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach, who was in India last week, resigned after coming under fire for a controversial remark he made during his speech at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. During his speech at the Delhi-based think tank last Friday , Schoenbach said the idea that Russia would invade Ukraine was “nonsense” and wondered why would a big country like Russia would want a tiny strip Furious over the remarks, of Ukraine soil to integrate Ukraine summoned German into it. He said Russian presi- Ambassador Anka Feldhusen dent Vladimir Putin to express its only wants respect. displeasure. “Putin is probably While Germany disputting pressure betanced itself from its cause he knows he can navy chief ’s com do it and he knows that ments, Schoenbach adit splits the European mitted his remarks Union,” Schoenbach were “rash” and tenhad said. dered resignation saySchoenbach His comments came ing he wanted to preamid rising tension along the ve n t f u r t h e r d a m a g e t o Ukraine-Russia border with Germany and its military . Moscow sending more troops. Later, the German navy put S r een u B a b u Pat i v a d a @ Srikakulam Prime Minister Narendra Modi will honour the courage of a Srikakulam girl, who stood her ground during a terror attack and saved her mother and two younger sisters in 2018. The Prime Minister will confer the Rashtriya Bal Puraskar - 2022 on Himapriya, now aged 12, through virtual mode. She will receive the certificate of appreciation and cash reward at the district collector’s office on Monday . Himapriya was residing in an Army residential quarters at Sunjuwan in Jammu and Kashmir along with her father Havaldar Gurugu Satyanarayana, mother Padmavathi and sisters Rishitha and Avantika, then aged 7 and 5, respectively, when Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists attacked the camp early on February 10, 2018. Satyanarayana was away on duty at Udampur when the camp was attacked. Seeing a terrorist entering their quarters, Padmavathi locked herself and her three daughters up in the bedroom, and placed whatever she could get against the door. She and Himapriya, then 8, prevented the Gurugu Himapriya, terrorist from entering the room who was selected for more than three hours. The for the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya terrorist tried to enter by lobbing Bal Puraskar-2022 a hand grenade which badly injured Padmavathi. Braving a shoulder injury, Himapriya continued her struggle to keep her mother and sisters safe. She opened the door and engaged in a conversation with the terrorist for about an hour. The resolute girl eventually made the terrorist agree to let her take her injured and unconscious mother to a hospital. After reaching a safe distance, she alerted the Army which swung into action and sanitised the , area. The Army later said Himapriya’s intervention not only helped in limiting the casualty but , also in capturing the terrorists. “The Sunjuwan terrorist attack was a five-hour long nightmare. I have been listening to tales of patriotism at Kendriya Vidyalaya, where I was studying. I have learnt self-defence techniques from my father. I feel privileged to receive the Bal Puraskar from our PM,” she told TNIE. Covid ends India’s asian cup campaign A Covid outbreak in the Indian women’s team meant they couldn’t put together XI players on the field for their match against Chinese Taipei in the Asian Cup in Mumbai | P11 The controversy surrounding the alleged abduction of an Indian boy by the People’s Liberation Army of China could soon end, as the PLA claims to have found a missing boy from Arunachal Pradesh. “The PLA has informed the Indian Army that they have found a missing boy Since only . one person (Miram Taron) is missing, we believe it is he,” a senior Army officer said. Due procedure would be followed before the boy is handed over. The family of the 17-year-old Miram, who hails from Upper Siang district, was overjoyed when this correspondent broke the news over the phone. “Thank you so much, sir. I cannot express in words how happy I am. I pray that the boy they found is Miram,” his father Opang said. “He will be received by our entire Zido village when he arrives home.” Miram has never been to that forest before and the father said he would not allow the minor to go to the place again. His mother, Kutjit, said, “I am feeling very good.” She had been experiencing hypertension ever since Miram’s disappearance. The incident occurred on January 18 when Miram and his friend, Jhonny Yaying, had ventured into a forest at the fuzzy India-China border to hunt wild animals and collect herbs. While Miram was nabbed by the PLA, Jhonny fled. Both youngsters are from the same village. The site of the incident is around 35-40 km away Opang said he was at Tut. ing on January 17 when his son had set out for the forest. Was out on puja hunt “We have a puja in mid-February where, as per a customary practice, I would give my sisters dry meat. As the meat needs to be dried before being gifted, Miram had gone out early for hunting,” father Opang said express read British era cistern found in Kadapa Kadapa: A British era cistern was found near Bugga Malleswara Swamy temple in Bugga Agraharam of Chinta Komma Dinne mandal in the district on Sunday. The underground structure in gothic style was completely constructed with limestone. Its water storage capacity is said to be 1 lakh litres | P4 Srikakulam girl to get Bal Puraskar for standing up to JeM Missing Arunachal teen found by the PLA? P r a s a n ta M a z u m d a r @ Guwahati out a statement saying Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht had accepted the resignation and appointed his deputy as interim naval chief. Germany has insisted that it stands united with its NATO allies on the issue of Russia’s military threat to Ukraine, warning that Moscow will pay a high price if it makes any military moves against its neighbour. But unlike many other NATO countries, Berlin says it won’t supply Ukraine with lethal weapons. Staff unions invited for talks on PRC Remembering Netaji The hologram statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose unveiled by PM Narendra Modi at India Gate in New Delhi on Sunday. A grand statue, made of granite, will eventually replace the hologram statue | pti | p7 Vijayawada: The Committee of Ministers invited employees’ union leaders for talks on the Pay Revision Commission (PRC) issue on Monday. However, the union leaders stated that they will not hold talks with the committee till the withdrawal of GOs issued to implement the new PRC | P4
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