After muted Christmas celebrations across the country on Saturday, it looks like the Omicron threat will lead to a subdued New Year’s as well. States and union territories either revised or introduced restrictions and new guidelines to curb the spread of Covid-19. Some states, however, are still mulling over introducing stricter norms, while many others have cautioned citizens to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.
India recorded 422 Omicron cases across 17 states and union territories, according to Union health ministry data updated on Sunday. Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of Omicron cases at 108, followed by Delhi at 79, Gujarat 43, Telangana 41, Kerala 38, Tamil Nadu 34 and Karnataka 31.
Here’s a list of states that have introduced restrictions or new guidelines for New Year celebrations in the wake of Omicron fuelling Covid-19 cases across the country:
The state, so far, has the highest number of Omicron infections at 108. The state government has imposed Section 144 in Mumbai till the midnight of December 31. No social gatherings can take place along beaches or tourist hotspots in the metropolis.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued fresh, stringent orders making it mandatory for party organisers to acquire a written permission from authorities if more than 200 people are invited. In closed places, 50 per cent capacity will be allowed by “strictly maintaining 6×6 feet distance”, the guidelines stated. On the other hand, only 25 per cent capacity with the same distancing norm will be permitted in open spaces.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has extended its Covid curbs such as the ban on social and cultural gatherings and the cap on bars and restaurants to operate with 50 per cent seating capacity till midnight of December 31.
The current permitted and restricted activities will continue on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, the DDMA order said. Political, social, cultural, religious and similar such gatherings have not been permitted.
The state has extended the night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am till December 31. The gyms and restaurants have been allowed to operate at 75 per cent capacity, while cinema halls can have full occupancy. Night curfew will be in force in eight cities including Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Gandhinagar and Junagadh.
The Karnataka government has decided to impose “night curfew” for 10 days from December 28, between 10 pm to 5 am, said health minister K Sudhakar on Sunday. “From December 28 onwards, for about 10 days to begin with, we would like to watch by calling a night curfew, invoking Section 144, from night 10 pm to the next morning 5 am,” Sudhakar said. After a high-level meeting of senior ministers, officials and the Covid technical advisory committee, chaired by chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, he said there was a curb on functions and gatherings for the New Year.
“There will be no functions, parties in the external premises, especially for those celebrating with DJs and large gatherings, they have been completely banned in Karnataka,” he said. The minister also said in places like eateries, hotels, pubs and restaurants can have 50 per cent of the seating capacity of the premises.
The Telangana government has banned rallies and public meetings till January 2 but has not restricted New Year celebrations as of now.
The state government has decided not to impose any fresh restriction and will continue with existing curbs till December 31. Chief minister MK Stalin appealed to the people to fully cooperate with the government to curb the virus spread. Considering New Year celebrations besides the harvest festival of Pongal next month, Stalin held a meeting of medical, public health experts and top officials at the Secretariat.
The Odisha government has also decided to impose strict restrictions on New Year Celebrations till January 2. No social gatherings, rallies and other cultural programmes are permitted other than weddings.
The state government issued fresh guidelines for holding religious and social functions to stop the spread of the Covid-19 infection. To contain the spread of Omicron, functions of religious and social nature, including New Year, can have an upper limit of 50 per cent.
Due to a lower count of the Omicron infections in West Bengal, the state government has announced that the restrictions on New Year will be loosened. The ongoing restriction on movement from 11 pm to 5 am will continue till January 15, except on New Year’s, the authorities said. But a day after the city saw massive crowds of midnight revellers on Christmas, health experts and doctors cautioned the state government against allowing more such gatherings, especially during the New Year festivities. The West Bengal government has relaxed the movement of people and vehicles between 11 pm and 5 am till January 1, 2022, but these have been extended till January 15, 2022.
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur has directed deputy commissioners to ensure proper adherence of Covid-appropriate behaviour in view of influx of tourists with New Year’s Day approaching. In a virtual meeting with DCs to review preparedness, Thakur said the influx of tourists would increase in view of the new year, therefore, proper adherence of Covid-appropriate behaviour should be ensured.
The chief minister directed the DCs in places having high influx of tourists in their districts to take stringent steps to check the spread of the virus, and directed officials to increase testing and forming micro-containment zones where Covid positive cases are reported in the area.
The Goa government’s task force on Covid-19 also met to discuss the Omicron variant situation amid New Year festivities in the coastal state. Chief minister Pramod Sawant, who chaired the meeting, said the task force has asked all stakeholders to take complete precaution during the festival season to curb the spread of Omicron. He said his government had decided not to impose any curbs during this season but people need to be alert and adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour.
The state has imposed night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am in all the cities, while all district officials have been directed to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour.
Madhya Pradesh has also imposed a night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am.
The state government has appealed to the people to exercise caution and follow Covid-19 protocols urging people to celebrate New Year responsibly. There are, however, no new curbs with respect to New Year festivities.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar ruled out the probability of bringing in restrictive measures. “Yahan abhi koi avashyakta nahin hain” (it is not needed here as of now)”, he said.