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Opinion

Night curbs in meters to ensure a safe spree for Covid

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Delhi authorities have announced nightly restrictions to prevent gatherings in public places on December 31 and January 1, joining metropolitan cities such as Mumbai and Bangalore in introducing varying degrees of restrictions to reduce New Year celebrations in the context of the coronavirus disease (Covid -19) epidemic.

According to an order issued late on Wednesday, more than five people cannot gather in public places in the capital from 11 p.m. on Thursday to 6 a.m. on Friday and again from 11 p.m. on Friday. until 6 a.m. on Saturday.

This order – citing the infectious mutant UK strain that has been detected in Delhi – does not apply to “licensed venues” such as hotels, clubs and pubs, which already follow social distancing measures and Covid-19 guidelines drawn up by government authorities.

“On such premises, Covid-19 guidelines such as limit of people, mandatory use of masks and ensuring that other appropriate Covid-19 behaviors apply,” Delhi’s chief secretary said Thursday, Vijay Dev.

There were no restrictions for meetings in residential premises. The order made it clear that there were no restrictions on the interstate and intrastate movement of people and goods.

The order issued by Dev, who is also the chairman of the executive committee of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), effectively bans large gatherings at places like the India Gate, a popular destination in the city on the eve of New Years and New Years. day.

DDMA is in charge of implementing and enforcing regulations and management strategies related to Covid-19 in the city. Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal is its president.

Night curbs in meters to ensure a safe spree for Covid

The order stated that “a detailed assessment of the situation in Delhi has been carried out”, and “taking into account the threat posed by the mutant strain of the UK Covid-19 virus and after observing local incidents of Covid-19 pandemics. in Delhi “, authorities feared that” New Year’s gatherings, congregations and public celebrations pose a considerable threat of spreading the virus. “

All Delhi District Magistrates and Deputy Police Commissioners were asked to ensure strict compliance with the restrictions. The violations can carry a prison sentence of up to six months, said a government official who did not want to be named.

Multiple teams of revenue officials will be deployed for surveillance and compliance with the broader Covid-19 guidelines in popular public places like Connaught Place until January 2, a second official said, requesting anonymity. It added that officials were authorized to prosecute people who do not wear masks and who do not follow social distancing rules, as specified by authorities in previous orders.

Read more | Delhi registers 574 Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours, one of the lowest in months

The official said the idea of ​​nighttime restrictions was discussed at a DDMA meeting chaired by LG Baijal on Wednesday. “At the meeting, the LG reviewed the Covid-19 situation and concerns were raised about the detection of patients of the UK strain in Delhi,” he said.

Authorities across the country, including those in Delhi, are on alert for the emergence of the mutant strain of the coronavirus that was first detected in London and Kent in mid-September. India has suspended flights to and from the UK until January 7 as of December 31. While the new strain is more infectious, there is no evidence to suggest that it increases the severity of the disease.

As of Thursday, India has reported 25 cases of the new strain; at least four of them are residents of Delhi.

Delhi has reported 625,369 cases and 10,536 deaths since the outbreak began in March. On Thursday, the city recorded 574 cases and 13 deaths.

Overall, India has reported 10,286,236 Covid-19 cases and 149,034 deaths. The seven-day average has been reduced to19,828,below the peak of 93,617 for the week ending September 16.

“At this juncture, people should not let their guard down, even though the number of new cases in India is decreasing. In several other countries, there is an increase in cases and things for India can also change at any time. People should avoid meetings, ”said Dr. Lalit Kant, former head of the department of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the main scientific body of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Read more | Night curbs imposed in Delhi on December 31 and January 1 from 11 pm to 6 am

The city’s business community hinted at quiet and cautious New Years celebrations.

“We have already been following the Covid-19 guidelines since the restaurants were reopened (on June 8 after the closure was announced on March 25 to contain the spread of the disease) … We will follow those guidelines during the celebration. of the New Year too. The restaurants will operate at 50% of their capacity and there will be no guest entry without masks. Thermal control will be mandatory along with hand sanitization, ”said Sanjeev Mehra, president of Khan Market Traders Association.

Not just Delhi, cities in India saw low-key New Year’s Day celebrations with strict restrictions.

For example, the Maharashtra government imposed nighttime restrictions from December 22 to January 5, prohibiting the gathering of four or more people in Mumbai and other cities. Meetings in restaurants, bars and pubs will not be allowed after 11pm. There are no restrictions on visiting friends, family and public places, but not in a group of more than four people, the police added.

Unlike in the past, revelers in Bangalore will not be able to gather in large numbers at popular places like MG Road, Brigade Road, Koramangala and Indira Nagar due to restrictions, Karnataka Interior Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters on Thursday.

The prohibition orders prohibiting the gathering of more than four people in public places were in effect at the tech center from noon Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. Hotels and restaurants were allowed to operate, but only until midnight. The government has already banned DJ dance programs and special events in clubs, pubs and restaurants that attract large numbers of people.

The Tamil Nadu government banned celebrations on roads and beaches, including Marina Beach, until Friday. Chennai police will restrict movement on key highways after 10 p.m. Thursday. Hotels, restaurants and bars must close before this deadline.

In West Bengal, Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said the state government will not impose nighttime restrictions, but will take precautionary measures to avoid gatherings. “New Years celebrations are organized in some places in West Bengal. If people comply with the Covid-19 security protocols and cooperate with the police and administration, meetings can be avoided, ”he told the PTI news agency.

(With inputs from agencies)

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