The Maharashtra government on Friday banned the gathering of more than five persons in all public places between 9 pm to 6 am as the state recorded its highest rise in daily coronavirus cases in almost two months amid the spread of the Omicron variant.
The new guidelines, which came into effect from midnight, also said that indoor marriage ceremonies can have maximum 100 attendees and in case of outdoor venues, the number cannot exceed 250 people or 25% of the space, whichever is less.
Similar restrictions will be applied for social, political and religious gatherings, an order signed by Chief Secretary Debashsish Chakrabarty said.
The new guidelines added that restaurants, gyms, spas, cinema halls and theatres can continue to operate at 50% capacity.
Maharashtra on Friday reported 1,410 new coronavirus cases, an increase of 20% over the 1,179 cases reported on Thursday. The rise in cases was highest in almost two months, PTI reported. Active cases in the state have risen to 8,426 from 6,903 a week ago.
The state’s total tally jumped to 66,54,755, while the toll reached 1,41,404 with 12 deaths.
Meanwhile, the tally of Omicron infections in Maharashtra rose to 108 on Friday with 20 more cases.
“The Omicron variant has now emerged as the fastest spreading variant of Covid-19 in the past few days across the world,” the order by Chakrabarty said. “It has become the dominant variant in the USA and in many countries in Europe. The state already has recorded 88 [108 reported till Friday night] Omicron cases over the past few days. It is also starting to see an upward trend of Covid-19 cases over the past week with more than 1,000 positive cases being registered every day for the first time in the last two months.”
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation also banned New Year celebrations in both closed and open spaces in the city. An order issued by civic body commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said “Greater Mumbai continues to be threatened with the spread of Covid-19 virus, especially the Omicron variant”.
So far,Mumbai has recorded 46 Omicron cases, including those found during screening at the Mumbai international airport. Pimpri-Chinchwad has reported 19 cases, Pune rural area 15 and Pune city seven.
Those flying to the city from Dubai will have to compulsorily undergo seven-day home quarantine, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said in an order. “There is mixing of travellers at the Dubai International Airport,” the order added.
Four states have also reimposed a night curfew as a precautionary measure amid the spread of the new strain.