'Over 50 pc of total 322 Covid positive SC employees recovered, reported to duty'
New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) Over 50 per cent of the total 322 Covid positive Supreme Court employees have reported back to duty and the others are recovering with hardly any case needing hospitalisation, sources said on Wednesday.
They termed as “alarmist” some news report that out of around 1500 staff in the apex court and as many as 400 have tested positive to Covid in the third wave.
“What is projected in some newspapers is not true. Our staff strength is 2,100 and not 1500 as reported and out of them, only 322 cases were reported as positive in the third wave and most importantly, over 50 per cent have reported back to duty,” an official said.
Concerning the figures of judges getting affected by the virus, they said out of four judges, two have started holding court, and moreover, speculation is being made about some other judges whose RT-PCR test reports have been negative as of now.
Some judges, as a precautionary measure and due to some other reasons, are not holding the court, leading to speculations, they said.
B A Rao, the President of the Supreme Court Employees Welfare Association, thanked Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana for ensuring all kinds of help and facilities, including ensuring quality face masks, for the employees.
Recently, a COVID-19 testing facility has been set up on the top court's premises and it is open from Monday to Saturday.
“In view to contain the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus infection and a sudden upsurge in the cases of Omicron variant of the coronavirus, it is reiterated that the entrants to the Supreme Court premises, i.e. the registry staff, staff of the coordinate agencies, advocates and their staff, etc., particularly those who may be showing any symptom(s) similar to those notified for COVID-19 infection(s), may kindly get themselves tested at such facility...,” the circular read.
The top court on January 2 had decided to conduct all hearings in virtual mode for two weeks starting from January 3, in view of the rising number of cases.
A circular issued in this regard stated that an earlier circular prescribing standard operating procedure for physical hearing (hybrid hearing) will remain suspended for the time being.
Later, another circular was issued saying that the judges would hold courts from their official residence.
With 2,82,970 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,79,01,241, which includes 8,961 cases of the Omicron variant, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday.
The active cases have increased to 18,31,000, the highest in 232 days. The active cases stood at 18,95,520 on May 31 last year.
The death toll has climbed to 4,87,202 with 441 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated.
There has been an 0.79 per cent increase in Omicron cases since Tuesday, the ministry said.