Maharashtra imposes night restrictions, other curbs

Maharashtra prohibits gathering of more than 5 persons from 9 pm-6 am, imposes other curbs

However, essential services have been exempted from the prohibitory orders

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray. Credit: PTI Photo

With the cases of new Covid-19 variant Omicron jumping, the Maharashtra government on Friday issued orders to prohibit gathering of more than five people between 9 pm and 6 am and put a cap on the number of attendees in marriages, social, political and religious events. 

The orders came on a day when Maharashtra crossed the 1,400-mark in around two month’s time even as total cases of Omicron variant surpassed 100 cases on Friday.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi had been mulling restrictions in the wake of the jump of figures ahead of the Christmas and New Year festivities. 

However, essential services have been exempted from the prohibitory orders. 

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In the Maharashtra Legislature, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab made a formal announcement on the restriction timings. 

On Thursday night, Thackeray chaired a Cabinet meeting and also met members of the Covid-19 Task Force to discuss the Omicron threat even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation in New Delhi. 

Other states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan have announced restrictions to combat the spread of the Omicron variant. 

In cases of marriages, where movement of people is generally staggered, the total number of attendees should not exceed 100 in enclosed places (like banquets, marriage halls), and 250 for open sky spaces or 25 per cent of the capacity, whichever is less, according to the orders issued by Chief Secretary Debasish Chakrabarty. 

Similar restrictions would be applicable in case of religious, social and political gatherings. 

In the last 24 hours, 1,410 cases and 12 deaths were reported, taking the progressive total to 66,54,755 and 1,41,404, respectively. 

As many as 20 new cases of Omicron were reported, taking the progressive total to 108.

Of the Omicron cases, 54 have been discharged after the RT-PCR report was negative. 

Of the 20 new cases, 15 have history of international travel, one has history of domestic travel and four are their high-risk contacts, according to the Public Health Department. 

Meanwhile, Behram Khodaiji, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Masina Hospital, Byculla, Mumbai, said: “As the 2021 draws to a close, the threat of the new Omicron variant is looming large and staring alarmingly on the face of the common citizen. What started as a new localised variant in South Africa has rapidly spread all across Europe and is jumping into new countries with every passing day. India is also seeing the spread of the virus although, as yet, it is largely limited to Maharashtra and Delhi. But, as the WHO has repeatedly stressed, unless all countries are immune from the virus, no one is really safe from it.”

“People have to be highly vigilant and take adequate measures to ensure that they do not get infected and, more importantly, spread the virus to others. The festive parties and New Year celebrations should not become a super spreader,” he said.

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