The Mumbai Police prohibited gatherings of five or more residents on Saturday and Sunday under section 144 of the Criminal Code Procedure as Maharashtra recorded a total of 17 cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus this week, PTI reported.

“It [the order] has been issued to prevent danger to human life from the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 as well as a threat to the law-and-order situation against the backdrop of violence that took place in Amravati, Malegaon and Nanded,” the police said, according to PTI.

Tensions had erupted in Amravati in November following protests held by a Muslim organisation against the recent communal violence in Tripura. Two shops belonging to Muslims were burnt during a shutdown observed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Incidents of stone-pelting were also reported from other places in Amravati, after which the authorities imposed a curfew for four days and suspended internet services.

Meanwhile, the order imposed under section 144 also prohibits political rallies and protests.

The All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen had scheduled a campaign rally on Saturday ahead of the 2022 Mumbai civic elections, the Hindustan Times reported.

Omicron cases in India

India’s tally of Omicron cases went up to 33 on Saturday, after Delhi recorded its second case, ANI reported. The patient, who is fully vaccinated, had travelled to Zimbabwe and South Africa.

On Friday, Maharashtra recorded seven cases of the Omicron variant, which pushed the state’s tally of the variant till 17. One of the patients in Maharashtra is a three-and-a-half-year-old child

Three of the cases were reported from Mumbai. The patients have a history of travel to Tanzania, the United Kingdom and South Africa – three countries on India’s “at-risk” list.

Four other infections were reported from Pimpri Chinchwad in Maharashtra. They are the contacts of a Nigerian woman who had tested positive for the Omicron variant.