COVID-19 | States announce measures to curb Omicron spread

Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of Omicron cases, followed by Delhi, Gujarat, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka

In view of the rising cases of the Omicron variant, the Union Government, in an advisory, has asked State governments to activate its critical facilities and strategy boardrooms, and has listed a number prevention and containment measures to curb the spread of Omicron in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on December 25 that teenagers in the 15-18 age group would be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, and frontline and health workers and senior citizens above the age of 60 with co-morbidities on the advice of doctors would be eligible for a what he termed a “precaution” or third dose.

Multi-disciplinary central teams have been deployed in 10 States which are reporting either an increasing number of Omicron and COVID-19 cases or a slow vaccination pace, according to a Union Health Ministry office memorandum. As per the document, these 10 States are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Mizoram, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Punjab.

While the Tamil Nadu government has decided not to impose any fresh restriction in view of the emergence of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, many States have imposed guidelines.

Haryana government announces night curfew

Amid COVID-19 variant Omicron scare, the Haryana government on December 24 announced imposition of night curfew between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. from December 25. An order said that keeping in view the emergence of Omicron variant and persistent rise in COVID-19 cases in the State, night movement restrictions would be strictly imposed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the State. Besides, in indoor and open spaces, gatherings of up to 50% of the hall/area capacity would be allowed with a ceiling of a maximum of 200/300 persons respectively subject to strict observance of COVID-appropriate behaviour.

Karnataka announces curbs in the State

The State government has decided to impose night curfew for ten days starting from December 28.

This was decided at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on December 26 with the members of the Technical Advisory Committee and health department officials. Speaking to press persons after the meeting, Health and Family Welfare Minister K. Sudhakar said that the night curfew will be imposed from 10 pm to 5 am. “No new year celebrations will be allowed in public places,” he said. He also added that the hotels were allowed to have only 50% occupancy.

Meghalaya issues guidelines

Meghalaya government has issued new guidelines making it mandatory for people entering the State to register with the government website and download the Arogya Setu app and the Behavioural Change Management app, an official said. The new guidelines were issued after the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected in some States, the official said.

Delhi government announces guidelines

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting on December 23 on the rise in cases of the coronavirus and its variant Omicron, and directed officials to wrap up preparations to tackle any surge, including building the capacity to follow up on over one lakh positive persons in home isolation, official sources said.

Rajasthan steps up vigil

With 21 cases of Omicron reported on a single day, the Rajasthan government on December 25 decided to step up the vigil and take stringent measures to control the spread of infection. A diagnostic report from Pune’s National Institute of Virology confirmed the new cases, taking the tally in the State to 43. The State government decided to make the COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for entering the public places and getting the benefits of various schemes from February 1 and strictly implement the curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 p.m. New guidelines will be notified shortly.

Allahabad HC urges union government to put off elections

The Allahabad High Court has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Election Commission of India (ECI) to immediately ban rallies and public meetings of political parties, and consider postponing the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election owing to rising cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The court requested the ECI to possibly postpone the U.P. election scheduled to be held in February by one or two months. Citing news reports of increasing COVID-19 cases and deaths, the HC said the third wave “is at our doorstep”.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on December 24 issued orders to initiate strict measures, including a Statewide night curfew from December 25, in view of a rise in Omicron cases in several States. The coronavirus night curfew will be applicable from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., a senior official said in Lucknow.

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