BENGALURU MONDAY JANUARY 24, 2022 `9.00 PAGES 20 LATE CITY EDITION NZ PM CALLS OFF WEDDING AMID OMICRON OUTBREAK Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday her own wedding plans stand cancelled as she announced fresh Covid curbs DECISION AFTER DETECTION OF COVID CLUSTER 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 X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C 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 KARNATAKA JAN 22 JAN 23 Fresh cases 42,470 50,210 Recoveries 35,140 22,842 Deaths 26 19 First vax dose coverage 100% in K’taka: Sudhakar EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bengaluru ONE year and seven days after the Covid vaccine drive was launched, Karnataka has completed 100 per cent coverage of the first dose, said Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Sunday . Taking to Twitter, he said Karnataka is the first state in the country to achieve this. “This is a matter of pride and I thank all health workers and government officials. Some districts are at 97 per cent to 99 per cent with respect to the first dose coverage, but overall the state average has crossed 100 per cent. The second dose coverage is at 85 per cent,” he said. While the target for the 18-plus population was set at 4,89,16,000, the cov- Over 50K cases in state German navy chief in Ukraine mess resigns EX P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi WHETHER or not the Ukraine situation is amicably resolved between the US-led NATO and Russia, it left the German navy chief jobless. Vice admiral KayAchim Schoenbach, who was in India last week, had to resign after coming under fire for siding with Russian president Vladmir Putin during his speech at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Delivering his controversial address on Friday Schoenbach Ukraine summoned German , said the idea that Russia would Ambassador Anka Feldhusen invade Ukraine was “non- to express its displeasure. sense” and wondered While Germany diswhy would a big countanced itself from its try want a tiny strip of navy chief ’s comUkraine to integrate ments, Schoenbach adinto it. He said Putin mitted his remarks only wants respect. were somewhat “rash” “Putin is probably and tendered his resputting pressure beignation saying he cause he knows he can wanted to prevent furSchoenbach do it and he knows that ther damage to Germait splits the European Union,” ny and its military . Schoenbach said. Later, the German navy put Furious over the remarks, out a statement saying Defence Netaji’s statue will be shifted to front of Soudha, says CM ON a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the hologram of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the India Gate in New Delhi, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai declared on Sunday that the Netaji statue on the premises of Vidhana Soudha will be shifted to the front of the majestic legislature building. “The statue, which is behind Vidhana Soudha near the western gate now, should be shifted to a suitable spot befitting the honour he deserved. A decision will be taken soon. Netaji’s next birth anniversary will be celebrated in front of Vidhana Soudha,” Bommai said after paying tributes to the freedom fighter on his 125th birth anniversary . Netaji inspired the Later inaugurating the flying youth with his call, school at Jakkur that was de- ‘give me blood and funct for some time, Bommai I will give you announced that 75 Netaji freedom’. He laid a Amrit NCC schools will be set strong foundation for the freedom up in the state. struggle by “Books and articles on Netaji will be brought out in Kannada inducting 60,000 youth into Azad and distributed to our youth as Hind Fauj the government has also decidBasavaraj Bommai, ed to celebrate Netaji’s 125th Chief Minister birth anniversary throughout the year. Children will be introduced to Netaji’s ideals and objectives by organising debates, exhibitions and other programmes at all schools and colleges,” he added. The government will respond positively to the demands of various organisations that have been working to promote Netaji’s ideals, he promised. “Netaji gave a big thrust to the freedom struggle by uniting world powers of that time to wage a battle in India against the British empire. Netaji had a big role in India attaining freedom,” he remarked. P4 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 | P9 Missing Arunachal teen found by the PLA? P R A S A N TA M A Z U M D A R @ Guwahati 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 Stalin, Pinarayi oppose changes to IAS rules Chennai/T’puram: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday urged PM Modi to drop the proposed amendments to IAS Cadre Rules as they would go against the principles of federalism. P7 CENSUS E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bengaluru Karnataka on Sunday reported 50,210 cases, breaking the pandemic’s second wave record just 23 days into the third wave. erage was at 4,89,29,819. Some districts like Dharwad, Bidar, D av a n a g e r e , B e l a g av i , Bagalkot, Hassan, Kolar, Mysuru, Gadag, Chikkaballapur, Vijayapura and Kodagu have gone beyond 100 per cent in their first dose coverage, as per data shared by the minister. The districts lagging in the second dose coverage and are below the state average of 85 per cent are Kalaburagi, Raichur, Yadagir, Chitradurga, Dakshina Kannada, Ballari, Bengaluru Urban, Shivamogga, Chamarajanagar and P3 Dharwad. 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 P12 weapons. FIRST TO START SIGN SURVEY TAKING FLIGHT A family walks towards a helicopter after Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai launched a heli-tourism project at Jakkur aerodrome in Bengaluru on Sunday. The government has signed MoUs with Thumby Aviation and Chipsan Aviation to offer heli-tourism services | SHRIRAM BN 25-year-old anti-poaching camp watcher Chandrashekhar was the first to start the sign survey and record the readings on the M-Stripe app, on the first day of the tiger census in Nagarhole Tiger Reserve on Sunday | P4
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