Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday announced a weekend curfew in the city in view of the surge in Covid-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. At a press conference, he urged citizens to not move out of their homes on Saturdays and Sundays, except in case of emergencies.

Under the new guidelines, government employees, except those engaged in essential services, will be asked to work from home, while private offices will function at 50% capacity, Sisodia added.

Meanwhile, Delhi recorded 5,481 new coronavirus in the last 24 hours, pushing the infection tally in the city to 14,63,701 since the pandemic first broke out in March 2020. With three deaths, the toll climbed to 25,113.

The positivity rate increased to 8.37% from Monday’s 6.46%.

Delhi has seen an alarming rise in daily coronavirus cases over the last few days. On Monday, the city recorded 4,099 new cases, while the positivity rate stood at 6.46%. Just a week back, on December 27, Delhi had logged 331 cases with a positivity rate of 0.68%. On Tuesday morning, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also tested positive for the disease.

In view of the rise in cases, the Delhi government on Tuesday told private hospitals and nursing homes with 50 or more beds to reserve at least 40% beds for coronavirus patients, PTI reported.

The order was passed by the Nursing Home Cell of the Directorate General of Health Services.

On Monday, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had said that the Omicron variant was now the dominant strain of infections in the city. He said that 81.28% of the coronavirus cases in the Capital in the last few days were of the Omicron variant.

However, at the press conference on Tuesday, Sisodia said that the trend of severity of Omicron cases in Delhi resembled what has been observed globally.

“There are nearly 11,000 active cases in Delhi, of which 350 patients are in hospitals,” Sisodia said. “Out of these, only 124 patients are on oxygen-supported beds, while seven are on ventilator support.”

The deputy chief minister added that while experts have said that Omicron infections result in milder symptoms and a quicker recovery than other variants, it was essential to take precautions to control its transmission.

Sisodia also said that buses and metros in Delhi will now be allowed to run at 100% capacity, but no passenger will be allowed without face masks. He said the decision was taken after the government’s last month’s move to allow only 50% occupancy led to long queues without physical distancing at bus stops and metro stations.