Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday said the Haryana government has decided to limit the number of people allowed at social gatherings like marriages, religious or political functions with a view to contain the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, especially in some NCR districts. In the six National Capital Region (NCR) districts of Gurugram, Faridabad, Rewari, Rohtak, Hisar and Sonipat, the government has decided to limit the number of persons allowed at social gatherings to a maximum 50 for such events held indoor and 100 for outdoor.
However, in the remaining districts of the state, the gathering has been limited to 100 people for indoor functions and 200 for outdoor ones. "These orders will be effective from November 26," Khattar informed this during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interaction via video conference with chief ministers of states that are witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases, a state government statement said here.
Haryana's Health Minister Anil Vij was also present during the video conference. Speaking to reporters later, Khattar ruled out the possibility of imposing a night curfew to help check the spread of the virus in the state.
"During night time, especially in winters in Haryana, there is not much movement of people and imposing a night curfew is not going to serve much purpose," he said. During the video conference, Khattar said the situation of COVID-19 in Haryana remained satisfactory in the "first and second phase".
"However, in the third wave of COVID-19 (in November), a spurt in the number of cases has been registered in the past few days, especially in the districts adjoining the NCR," he said. He said that keeping in view heavy movement of people in the NCR, the state government has ramped up COVID-19 testing in the region so that people found positive could be isolated to keep a check on the further spread of the infection.
Haryana over the past several days has been recording a daily spike of over 2,000 cases, with NCR districts like Gurugram and Faridabad being the worst-hit. Referring to various steps being taken by the state government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Khattar said, "Testing in Haryana has reached 1.24 lakh per million which is much more than the national average of 80,000 per million".
He said the state is conducting 32,000 tests per day, which would be further increased in the coming days. Apart from this, special emphasis is being given on the contact-tracing of COVID-19 cases, he said.
The chief minister said the people in the state are being encouraged to wear face masks and maintain social distancing. In his interaction with reporters, Khattar said one crore masks would soon be distributed to the people.
Police and Urban Local Bodies Department have been directed to strictly enforce mask-wearing and issue challans to the offenders. A fine of Rs 500 will be imposed on those who are found without masks, he added. To a question, he said while Rs 24-25 crore has been collected as fines so far for violations such as not wearing masks, the intent behind the penalties is that these should act as a deterrent so that people get into the habit of following all guidelines laid down by the government to check the spread of COVID-19.
He said the state government is "fully geared up" to deal with the present COVID-19 situation and has further strengthened its hospital infrastructure. An arrangement of 57,000 beds has been made in different hospitals of the state which is sufficient keeping in view the number of cases, the chief minister said. "Also, sufficient number of oxygen cylinders, ventilators, ICU beds are available in the state," he said.