Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij on Wednesday said that people who are not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease will not be allowed to enter malls, restaurants, banks and other public areas in the state from January 1, reported PTI.

An order of the Haryana government added that no one, including employees, will be allowed to enter government offices without being completely vaccinated.

Vij made the announcement in the state Assembly in reply to a question from Congress MLA Chiranjeevi Rao, who sought to know the steps taken by the government to stop the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The health minister said the decision on entry to public places was taken as vaccine was the biggest source of protection against Covid-19. Vij added that a large number of eligible beneficiaries in the state had not received their second shot of the vaccine.

Vij also said that use of masks in public places will be strictly enforced and that he has directed the police to impose Rs 500 fine on those found violating the guideline.

In the order issued later by Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajeev Arora, deputy commissioners have been directed to strictly implement the guidelines from January 1.

The order said that till December 22, as much as 93% of the adult population of Haryana received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, but only 60% have received the second shot.

“A large number of beneficiaries are due and overdue since long for the second dose of Covid-19 vaccination,” the order stated. “Further, new variants of Covid-19 are emerging frequently and recently Omicron cases are showing an increasing trend in the country. Looking into the current scenario steps need to be taken for increasing coverage of vaccination to mitigate spread of Covid-19.”

Vaccination has also been made mandatory for colleges students, who are above 18 years in age.

According to the order, only fully-vaccinated people will be allowed to at bus stands, railway stations, religious places, petrol stations, sugar mills, milk booths, ration shops, banks, parks, gymnasium, and fitness centres.

It also directed truck and auto rickshaw unions to allow only fully-vaccinated passengers.

No salary without vaccination certificate for Punjab government employees

Meanwhile, the Punjab administration said in an order that only those government employees who have submitted their vaccination certificate will get their salaries. reported NDTV.

Both fully and partially vaccinated employees would need to upload their certificates on Punjab government’s iHRMS, or Integrated Human Resource Management System portal.

The portal streamlines salary payment and retirement benefit withdrawals. The salary or pension is credited from automatically to the account of the employee’s designated bank account from the portal.

The state’s finance department has asked all senior officers to ensure compliance with the order.

Allowing unvaccinated people on trains would endanger others, Maharashtra government tells HC

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that allowing unvaccinated people on public transport will endanger the lives of others and lead to “explosive transmission” of the coronavirus disease and its variants, reported PTI.

“The government of Maharashtra, as parens patriae [guardian of the state] cannot afford to take that risk,” it said an affidavit submitted.

The affidavit was filed in response to two petitions which claimed that the government’s order stopping unvaccinated people from travelling in local trains in Mumbai was illogical and violated such citizens’ right to equality.

The High Court had last week directed the government to explain the reasons behind the order.

On Wednesday, the government said the decision to ban unvaccinated people on local trains and other forms of transport system was taken after consulting experts and members of the state Covid-19 task force.

The affidavit submitted that till Tuesday, 54 Omicron cases have been detected in the state.

“There is likelihood of a third wave and also the likelihood of spread of the new variant, Omicron,” the affidavit said. “The government of Maharashtra, therefore, cannot take any risk and would like to err on the safer side on the issue of public health.”

The affidavit also pointed out that the petitioners themselves were fully immunised against the infection.

The High Court will hear the matter on January 3.