Restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which bars gatherings of more than four people, were imposed in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddha Nagar district from Wednesday till April 30, according to a police order issued on Thursday. This came a day after Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey also issued orders to prevent gatherings till May 10, reported ANI.

The curbs were put in place as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus, especially in view of upcoming festivals.

Ashutosh Dwivedi, the additional deputy commissioner of police (law and order) in Gautam Buddha Nagar, said in the order that no one will be allowed to hold protests, processions and road blockades. “No firearms will be allowed inside any government or private office during the period,” the order said. “People who have been provided with armed security personnel by the government will ensure that their gunners stay out of offices.”

People will also not be allowed to engage in celebratory firing during ceremonies and drink alcohol in public. The police officer also advised people to maintain physical distancing norms and use masks.

Festivals such as Holi, Good Friday, Maharishi Kashyap Jayanti, Navratri, and Ambedkar Jayanti coincide during the period when the restrictions will be in place. “During these occasions, the chances of anti-social elements attempting to disrupt law and order cannot be ruled out,” Dwivedi added.

In Ghaziabad, face covers or masks were made mandatory for entering multiplexes, theatres, hotels, restaurants, schools, colleges, and other educational institutions.

Gautam Buddha Nagar recorded seven new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, pushing the district’s tally to 25,693, reported the Hindustan Times. The toll in the district is 91. There are 76 active cases and the recovery rate was 99.35%.

Meanwhile, India on Thursday reported the biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since early December with 35,871 new infections, data from the health ministry showed. Total cases in the country have now risen to 1,14,74,605.

Deaths increased by 172 to 1,59,216 in the past 24 hours. As many as 1,10,63,025 people in India have recovered from the infection, while the active caseload surged to 2,52,364.