As Delhi recorded over 1,100 fresh Covid-19 cases on Tuesday after reporting close to 800 infections three days in a row – its highest in three months – the Delhi administration banned all celebrations of Holi, Shab-e-Baraat, and other festivals, in public places.
The order, issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority and signed by the chief secretary of Delhi, comes on a day when the capital breached the 1,000 cases per day-mark after a gap of nearly three months, reporting 1,101 cases, with four deaths. The positivity rate stands at 1.31%.
Observing that there has been a persistent rise in Covid-19 cases in NCT Delhi during the last fortnight, and anticipating that public functions during upcoming festivals may pose a considerable threat of the spread of the virus, and may cause a set back to the gains made in suppression in the chain of transmission in Delhi, the AAP government said: “it has been decided that public celebrations and all gatherings/congregations during the upcoming festivals should not be allowed in public places”.
All district magistrates, police, law enforcement authorities have been directed to ensure that that public celebrations and gatherings, congregations during the upcoming festivals like Holi, Shab-e-Baraat, Navaratri, etc. shall not be allowed in public places, public grounds, public parks, markets, and religious places.
The capital will see subdued celebrations, with the authorities encouraging citizens to celebrate within the confines of their homes.
This decision was taken on March 19 at the DDMA meet chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, Dr Randeep Guleria, AIIMS, Dr Balram Bhargava, ICMR were also present.
In a bid to shield the capital from the virus that travels from other states, random testing at airports and railway stations, particularly of passengers coming from states with a high incidence of Covid cases, will also be enforced.
Meanwhile, Mumbai, which has been struggling to contain Covid-19 infections too and has been reporting cases higher than when the pandemic broke last year since last week, will also not play Holi this year. The BMC has banned all public gatherings owing to rising cases and has categorically prohibited Holi celebrations on March 28 and 29.
Additionally, it has also urged people to take full precautions, and if possible, to avoid any celebration this year. Violators will be penalised, said a circular issued by the civic body.