Amid surge in Covid cases, India imposes more curbs

Amid surge in Covid-19 infections, India imposes more curbs

Police in the financial capital Mumbai prohibited public gatherings of five or more residents until January 7 as it recorded a sharp jump in cases with 2,510 infections

Cases of infection due to the Omicron variant rose to 961 across the country. Representative image/ Credit: PTI Photo

India began to impose stringent rules in more cities on Thursday to prevent mass gatherings at parties and public venues ahead of new year celebrations amid a spike in Covid-19 infections.

Night curfews have been imposed in all major cities and restaurants ordered to limit customers, officials said.

However, state authorities were finding it difficult to limit crowding in markets, religious sites and holiday destinations as they were allowed to remain open, the officials said.

India reported 13,154 new Covid-19 cases and 268 deaths in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said, with urban centres reporting a big jump. It was the highest number of daily infections since October.

Also Read | Omicron is spreading in community: Delhi Health Minister

Cases of infection due to the Omicron variant rose to 961 across the country.

Police in the financial capital Mumbai prohibited public gatherings of five or more residents until January 7 as it recorded a sharp jump in cases with 2,510 infections, the highest daily increase since May, local authorities said.

"It is being seen that social gatherings are going on in an unrestricted manner with people flouting all social distancing norms...we are trying our best to control the spread of the virus," Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

Also Read | WHO chief worried about 'tsunami' of Omicron, Delta cases

Tope said the next 48 hours were critical for authorities to prevent an escalation of fresh Covid-19 cases.

Earlier this week, India accelerated vaccine distribution by approving Merck's Covid-19 pill and two more vaccines for emergency use.

The Prime Minister had announced on Christmas that it will allow Covid-19 booster shots for some of its population.

Also Read | Omicron will soon replace Delta as dominant global variant: Experts

The emergency approvals come at a time measures are being taken to ramp up oxygen supplies and hospital beds.

But an ongoing strike by thousands of junior doctors against the government has added pressure on the fragile health infrastructure.

Around 13,000 junior doctors across the country are continuing with the strike to protest against delayed postgraduate admissions, said Dr Manish, President of the Federation of Resident Doctors' Association India.

"We are continuing with the agitation," said Manish, who only uses one name. "If (Covid-19) cases are rising, then how is the government planning to deal with the situation without these doctors in the hospitals?"

 

Check out the latest DH videos here:

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox