Mumbai tightens restrictions ahead of New Year amid Omicron spread
People in Mumbai will not be allowed to access public locations between 5:00 pm and 5 am until January 15, according to a Mumbai Police order. Large gatherings are also prohibited under the order, which took effect at 1:00 pm on Friday. "The city continues to be threatened with COVID-19 pandemic in light of the increase in cases," the order said.
- The development comes as Maharashtra reported 5,368 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday—including 198 Omicron infections in the last 24 hours—a straight 37% hike compared to the previous day.
- According to experts, the Omicron variant may cause a severe but brief rise in infections in India.
- Omicron is the most mutated version of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 detected so far and is extremely infectious, too.
On Thursday, Mumbai saw another big spike with 3,671 new COVID-19 cases—up 46% from Wednesday. Over the past week, Mumbai's daily surge reportedly increased fivefold; last Friday, it recorded 683 cases. The city accounted for the majority of Maharashtra's new Omicron patients, with 190 cases. Maharashtra Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray, met with the state's COVID-19 task force Thursday to discuss about the high surge.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has reopened its ward-level war rooms to deal with the increasing number of cases. These war rooms are located in each of the 24 wards and are used to coordinate hospital admissions, oxygen and medicine needs, and vaccinations. They also maintain a track of patients who have been isolated at home.
Other major Indian cities that have seen an increase in infections in the previous week include Gurugram, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Kolkata, among others. The Centre has stated that it is prepared to deal with the surge and there is "no need to panic."