A COVID-19 isolation centre is prepared as a precautionary measure due to the Omicron variant at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) Village Sports Complex in New Delhi, on December 21, 2021. Image Credit: Bloomberg

New Delhi: In view of the rising cases of Omicron in Delhi, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has put a ban on all kinds of gatherings on Christmas and New Year in the national capital.

“As per the DDMA order, all social, political, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, and festival related gathering and congregations are completely prohibited in Delhi,” the DDMA order read.

The DDMA has directed all the district magistrates and DCPs to ensure that no cultural events, gatherings or congregations take place for celebrating Christmas or New Year in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.

Also, capacity at public places like restaurants, auditoriums and assembly halls has again been reduced to 50 per cent, while gatherings at wedding functions have been capped at 200 persons to curb the spread of the new Covid variant.

“All district magistrates as well as DCPs shall conduct surprise checks and raids in their respective areas and shall take strict penal action against the defaulters,” the DDMA stated.

The order has further asked the district magistrates to survey the areas falling within their jurisdiction and identify the places, which have the potential of becoming Covid hotspots and tighten the enforcement machinery by deploying sufficient number of enforcement teams on field for keeping vigil at public places and for enforcing Covid appropriate behaviour.

“The district magistrates shall convene meetings with the office-bearers of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and Market Traders Associations (MTAs) and inform them about the increasing trend of Covid-19 as well as the emergence of Omicron variant in Delhi, so that they may further sensitise their members, residents and shopkeepers etc.,” the DDMA said, adding, “RWAs and MTAs should be advised not to allow their residents, shopkeepers and customers without mask in their respective areas.”

Biggest single-day spike in six months

Meanwhile, Delhi reported 125 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the biggest single-day spike in the last six months.

On June 22 this year, 134 Covid cases were reported in Delhi.

As per Delhi’s health bulletin on Wednesday, the positivity rate remained 0.20 per cent for the third consecutive day.

The number of active infections has mounted to 624, the highest in nearly five months.

As many as 213 cases of Omicron have been detected across India so far, with Delhi recording 57 cases, the highest among all states and UTs, followed by Maharashtra (54), Telangana (24), Karnataka (19), Rajasthan (18), Kerala (15) and Gujarat (14).

In Uttar Pradesh, a number of churches have restricted the midnight mass for invitees only on Christmas.

Christmas celebrations have been called off at other public places to avoid mass gatherings. Most of the clubs and hotels have also decided not to organise a New Year bash.

However, malls and a few hotels will go ahead with restricted celebrations in compliance with protocols.

Haryana vaccine rule

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij on Wednesday said from January 1 people who have not got the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine would not be permitted to congested public places like restaurants, malls, banks and offices.

In response to a discussion on the calling attention motion in the state Assembly here, Vij said the new variant Omicron is a matter of concern as the whole world is worrying about it along with the WHO.

Karnataka curbs

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommaihas said that the New Year celebrations at public places will take place in a restricted manner, with celebrations allowed in restaurants and clubs with 50 per cent seating capacity and mandatory full vaccination.

No special events, Disk Jockeys (DJ) will be allowed in the celebrations. The restrictions will be in effect from December 30 till January 2.

“We have restricted public celebration of the new year, however, celebrations are permitted in clubs and restaurants with 50 per cent seating capacity and without any special event like DJ. Full vaccination is mandatory. These restrictions will be in effect from December 30 till January 1,” Bommai told ANI.