Delhi: Covid curfew introduced on weekends in India's capital city amid soaring cases

Children wait to receive their Covid-19 vaccination at a government school in New Delhi, India. Credit: AP

The local government in India's capital New Delhi has imposed a weekend curfew, amid surging Covid cases, in a bid to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. 

Announcing the tough new measures, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also said "most offices would have to make half their employees work from home".

Delhi’s local government had already imposed a night-time curfew, but the number of coronavirus patients has continued to soar. 

The new Omicron variant is spreading fast in the city.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Delhi's Health Minister, Satyender Jain, said the new variant had contributed to more than 80% of cases on December 30 and 31 alone. 

The test positivity rate in Delhi has stayed above five percent for two days in a row - a trigger to enforce the strictest "red alert" measures under the local government's plan.

The new weekend curfew will be enforced from Friday night through to Monday morning.

What is the Covid situation in India's capital?

On Tuesday, Delhi recorded 5,500 new cases of Covid-19, marking a significant jump from Monday's count of 4,099 infections.

The positivity rate jumped too, from 6.46% on Monday to 8.5% the following day. 

Currently, 202 patients are admitted to Delhi hospitals.

Offices in the city have been told to operate at 50% capacity.

Government employees, barring those engaged in essential services, have been asked to work from home.

A rail traveller is swabbed for Covid before being allowed to enter the city of Mumbai. Credit: AP

India is officially in the grip of its third wave of Covid-19, with India's vaccine task force head, Dr NK Arora, confirming a third wave has officially begun.

Speaking to national news channel NDTV, Dr Arora warned metro cities like Kolkata, Delhi, and Mumbai are responsible for a combined 75% of Omicron cases.

In the Indian financial capital of Mumbai, hospitalisation has risen 15% in past four days as hospitals rush to add Covid beds to increase capacity.

The local council-run jumbo centres are racing against time to increase capacity, while private hospitals have started reconverting many of their non-Covid wards to Covid sections.

A few hospitals have already started recording a rise in intensive care admissions.