Omicron scare from Delhi to Mumbai; curbs return ahead of Christmas, holiday season

Updated on Dec 23, 2021 09:59 AM IST

Omicron alert: While the central government has already issued specific instructions to states after noting the “initial signs of surge”, the states have also strengthened curbs in districts once again reporting high case positivity rates.

A Santa Clause's statue is being installed at the entrance of St Basilica Church ahead of the Christmas festival, at Shivaji Nagar in Bengaluru, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)
A Santa Clause's statue is being installed at the entrance of St Basilica Church ahead of the Christmas festival, at Shivaji Nagar in Bengaluru, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)
Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Amid growing concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, said to be highly infectious and capable of undergoing frequent mutations, multiple states and Union territories across India have reimposed fresh restrictions in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak. While the central government has already issued specific instructions to states after noting the “initial signs of surge”, the states have also strengthened curbs in districts once again reporting high case positivity rates with measures such as bringing back the night curfew, strictly regulating large gatherings, and putting prohibitions on the numbers of guests who can attend marriage ceremonies and functions.

The following are the set of restrictions imposed in several states/cities in view of the Omicron alert:

Mumbai

The Mumbai Police has said that in the wake of the Omicron concerns, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) will be imposed in the city from December 16 to December 31, a period covering Christmas and New Year eve, banning large gatherings and parties common in this time of the year.

Only people up to 50 per cent of the capacity at a venue will be allowed to attend any event; organisers of programmes should be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

According to the order, people have to follow Covid-19 appropriate behaviour at all times. All public transport shall be used only by fully-vaccinated persons, and all persons travelling into Maharashtra will either have to be fully vaccinated or carry an RT-PCR test valid for 72 hours.

Delhi

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday directed district magistrates (DMs) to ensure no Christmas and New Year gathering takes place in the national capital.

However, restaurants and bars will continue to operate with up to 50 per cent of the seating capacity. Marriage-related gatherings are permitted with a maximum of 200 people in attendance.

The DMs have also been directed to identify potential Covid-19 superspreader areas ahead of Christmas and New Year and tighten the enforcement machinery to ensure people follow social-distancing norms and wear masks.

In these identified pockets, “concerted action” will be taken according to the prescribed protocol – which includes test, track and treatment, prompt and effective containment measures, and enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour.

Bengaluru

Bengaluru, like the rest of Karnataka, will see fresh restrictions on New Year 2022 celebrations. However, in a silver lining for partygoers, the Basavaraj Bommai-led state government has allowed fetes and festivities in clubs and restaurants but only with 50 per cent seating capacity. According to the orders, there cannot be any special event like disk jockey (DJ) nights and such, either. Moreover, full vaccination will be mandatory for everyone at the places of celebrations. The curbs will be in effect from December 30 to January 2, a period only covering the post-Christmas and New Year's celebrations.

Noida

Noida and Lucknow are two cities in Uttar Pradesh where the Yogi Adityanath-led government has invoked Section 144 of the CrPC till December 31 keeping in mind the Omicron concerns and the upcoming Christmas and New Year's festivities.

“Section 144 CrPC has been implemented in Gautam Buddh Nagar till December 31 keeping the law and order situation in mind,” the Gautam Buddh Nagar Police said in a circular issued earlier this week.

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