As Omicron cases rise, Delhi bans Christmas, New Year gatherings
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has banned all gatherings ahead of Christmas and New Year in wake of rising Omicron cases in the national capital. The DDMA also instructed all District Magistrates (DMs) to take required measures in their respective jurisdictions to control disease spread. Reiterating the guideline on face masks, the order said, "'No mask/No entry' should be strictly ensured at shops/workplaces."
Why does this story matter?
At 57, Delhi currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases involving the Omicron variant in India. Omicron is notably more transmissible than the Delta variant. Overall, the country is also witnessing a gradual increase in Omicron variant cases. Earlier on Tuesday, the Centre had also issued an advisory to states and union territories detailing prevention and containment guidelines amid the Omicron threat.
What does the order say?
The DDMA has directed all DMs to conduct an "intensive survey" of areas under their jurisdiction to identify potential COVID-19 hotspots. District authorities are also directed to take "concerted actions" in those areas as per "prescribed protocol guidelines." Further, DMs have been instructed to spread awareness on Omicron across Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) through meetings.
Stricter enforcement of existing norms
The DDMA asked authorities to ensure stricter compliance with COVID-19 appropriate behavior (CAB), noting laxity in this regard. Authorities have been asked to deploy a sufficient number of teams on-ground to ensure strict compliance with CAB.
50% seating at restaurants, bars
Restaurants and bars can now operate with only up to 50% of their seating capacity. Seating capacity at auditoriums and assembly halls has also been capped at 50%. Up to 200 persons are permitted to attend marriage-related gatherings. Sports activities in stadiums are allowed but without any spectators. Weekly markets are allowed to operate in adherence to existing guidelines.
Conduct surprise raids: DDMA
The DDMA has also directed DMs and Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) to conduct surprise raids at establishments and take strict penal actions against violators. Violators could be charged under Sections 51 to 60 of the Delhi Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, it said. District officials have also been asked to submit daily reports on these activities.
India's Omicron tally reached 213
Meanwhile, India's tally of Omicron cases has reached 213, with cases detected in 15 states and union territories. Delhi reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases involving the Omicron variant: 57. The other worst-affected regions include Maharashtra (54 Omicron cases), followed by Telangana (24), Karnataka (19), Rajasthan (18), Kerala (15), and Gujarat (14). A total of 90 patients infected with Omicron have been discharged.