Mutant coronavirus: Centre asks states to ensure low-key New Year celebrations

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 30, 2020, 04:59 PM(IST)

A woman reacts as a healthcare worker collects a swab sample amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a testing centre, in New Delhi, India Photograph:( PTI )

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The Centre is looking to curb the spread of mutant coronavirus

With new variant of the coronavirus already having made its way to India, the central government on Wednesday asked states to ensure that new year celebrations remain low-key and do not become superspreader events. Union Health Ministry all states to keep strict vigil on New Year celebrations. Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote a letter to all states and union territories. In it, he said that although coronavirus cases in the country have been on the decline lately, the rise in cases in Europe and America meant that high level of precaution was necessary in India.

"You will appreciate that in the wake of New Year and various celebratory events associated with it as well as ongoing winter season, strict vigil is required to be maintained to curb all potential 'super spreader' events and places where crowds may gather," Bhushan said in the letter.

 

The Ministry of Home Affairs has mandated that states and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, such as night curfew, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19.?

The Home Ministry has also stipulated that there shall be no restriction on interstate and intra-state movement of persons and goods.

Also Read | India extends suspension of flights with Britain to January 7

Drawing attention to this, the Union health secretary has urged the states to "promptly assess the local situation and consider imposition of appropriate restrictions on December 30 and 31, as well as on January 1, 2021

Maharashtra

The state has been worst-hit during coronavirus pandemic in India. Maharashtra, notably Mumbai made up for a large chunk of coronavirus cases in the country.

Maharashtra government on Wednesday extended the lockdown till January 31, 2021. On New Year's Eve, hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars will remain open only till 11 pm at night.

"Hotels, restaurants,pubs and bars will remain open tomorrow (December 31) till 11 pm. There is no restriction on people stepping out to buy medicines and visiting friends and family members (after 11 PM). Gathering of five or more people at public places is prohibited," said Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. He appealed to people to follow coronavirus guidelines.

The state government had clamped a night curfew between 11 PM and 6 AM from December 22 to January 5 after a new strain of the virus was found in the UK.

Coronavirus situation Delhi

Four Covid positive patients have been found infected with the new variant first detected in the UK, while around 200 people, including returnees from the UK and their contact have been put under institutional quarantine by the Delhi government, officials told IANS.

All four patients have been admitted in the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital.

The patients found infected with the new variant have been isolated separately in different rooms of a special ward designated for the patients suspected or found infected with the new variant, the hospital officials told IANS

The tally of positive patients suspected of carrying the new strain has reached 35 in the hospital. Of them, 20 have returned from the UK and the remaining are those who came in contact with them, officials confirmed.

The AAP government has quarantined around 200 people, who either returned from the UK within a month or are in contact with those travellers found positive, at two facilities.

The Delhi government has designated 2,000-bed LNJP as the nodal centre for isolation of persons who are suspected to have the new variant of the Covid-19.

The officials informed that more than 80 of them have been quarantined at a hotel in Aerocity while the rest are kept in a banquet hall turned quarantine facility situated near Chattarpur.

(With agency inputs)

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