Section 144 imposed in Mumbai till January 7 as police bans New Year celebrations

More politicians including BJP leaders Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Harshavardhan Patil test positive.

With COVID-19 cases rising at an alarming rate in Mumbai city, police authorities have extended the imposition of section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) over the city till January 7 next year while banning New Year celebrations in both public and private spaces. 

The order, which was issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (operations) S. Chaitanya late Wednesday, came into effect on Thursday. 

The new directive prohibits celebrations and gatherings in any closed or open space, including hotels and restaurants, bars and pubs while disallowing booking for boats and banquet halls for parties on the night of December 31 in Mumbai. 

Hotels and above establishments, are, however, permitted to remain open till 12:30 a.m. for dine-in facilities with the caveat that they maintain 50% occupancy and ensure that the hotel staff is fully vaccinated.  

Delivery by e-platforms like Swiggy and Zomato as well as direct food orders from restaurants will be allowed. 

The police order states that any person contravening the order shall be liable for punishment under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code as well as provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act Pandemic Act and the Disaster Management Act. 

With the State government’s repeated appeals to ensure low-key celebrations, authorities have further urged the public to avoid crowding at popular places like the Marine Drive, Juhu Beach and the Gateway of India as well as parks and gardens. 

Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, speaking in Mumbai, warned that strict action would be taken against those violating COVID-19 norms. 

When questioned about the large crowds gathering at weddings of the kin of the State’s politicos, Mr. Walse-Patil said: “What applies to ordinary citizens, is binding on politicians as well. I appeal to people to celebrate the New Year by staying at home.”  

Mumbai had recorded a staggering 82% jump in cases on Wednesday, reporting more than 2,500 cases as opposed to the 1,333 it reported Tuesday, taking the State’s total active cases to over 14,000. The city reported the highest cases in Maharashtra as well as in the country. 

Meanwhile, a day after NCP MP Supriya Sule and her family tested positive, more politicians in the State were infected with the COVID-19 virus, with senior BJP leaders Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Harshavardhan Patil among the latest whose tests returned positive. 

“I am isolating myself from today onwards as my Covid test has returned positive. I am accordingly cancelling all my programs scheduled in the next few days. Everyone who has come in my contact over the past few days should get themselves tested,” said Mr. Vikhe-Patil.  

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