With just two days left for the year to end, several states and union territories across the country have tightened restrictions and protocols in view of a spike in Covid-19 cases. With a worrisome spike in cases across the country, Delhi recorded 496 cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, the highest in six months since June which saw the deadly second wave sweep the capital. Cases of Omicron, the new highly infectious "variant of concern" of Covid-19 have also been consistently rising with 165 cases in the capital at present. But while Delhi has dominated news reports, surrounding parts that constitute the 'National Capital Region' have also been witnessing a surge in cases.
Restrictions have been put in place in several parts of Delhi NCR. While the capital itself has been put under near-lockdown like conditions, nearby areas like Noida, Gurugram and others have also put restrictions in place.
Ahead of the festive season, the new Covid-19 restrictions have dampened the upcoming New Year celebration in the NCR.
Section 144 in Noida till New Year
Authorities in Noida imposed Covid-19 restriction in the district early on. Section 144 was imposed in Noida from December 1 itself n view of rising Covid-19 cases. The order was reimposed from December 25 till January 31, 2022 to contain a festive Covid-surge.
Residents and organisations need to seek prior permission for events and a cap of 200 people has been put on all social gatherings, including weddings and funerals.
Cases spike in Ghaziabad
The rising cases of Covid-19 in Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar have also been on the rise since last month. According to a report in Hindustan Times, the two areas have contributed to 34.87 per cent of the active Covid-19 cases this month. Ghaziabad logged 10 new Covid-19 cases. Night curfew is applicable in Ghaziabad as in all of UP.
Elderly asked to stay indoors in Gurugram
After a lull of three months, Gurugram has been witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases once again. On Sunday, Gurugram logged 68 fresh infections, the highest in six months. The increasing active caseload in Gurugram has led authorities to issue fresh Covid-19 guidelines. Authorities have issued "stay at hoe" advisories asking the elderly, pregnant women and children below 10 years of age to stay indoors.
Muted celebrations allowed in Gurugram
Unlike Delhi, however, New Year celebrations have not been banned in Gurugram. Gatherings have been allowed with certain conditions. Organisers have been asked to ensure CCTV cameras at events to monitor crowd movement and thermal scanning devices to ensure infected persons don't minge with crowds. Volunteers have been asked to step up monitoring of masks and ensure entry and exit gates to venues are separate. Fairs and events will not be allowed in containment zones. A fine of Rs 500 has been imposed for not wearing masks.
Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) in Gurugram have also issued a set of restrictions. As per reports, RWAs have decided to not host grand new year celebrations this year.
Lockdown-like situation in Delhi
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has put a ban on social and festive gatherings and put a cap of 200 people at weddings and funerals. Event organisers have been asked to seek prior approval from authorities. A night curfew has also been put in place frm 10 pm to 5 am.
Malls, shops and establishments of non-essential goods and services and malls will open based on an odd-even formula from 10 AM to 8 PM. Marriages and funerals will be allowed attendance of 20 persons while all other types of gathering related to social, political, cultural, religious and festival events will be prohibited. Weddings will only take place in home and courts. Private offices can function with up to 50 per cent of the staff barring those designated essential services, which includes hospitals, media, banks, insurance companies and telecom services. In Delhi government offices also, barring certain categories of officials, only half of the remaining staff will be allowed under the 'yellow' alert.
Religious places will open but visitors will not be allowed. Parks and gardens can however open. Cinema halls, banquet halls, spas, gyms, outdoor yoga activities, amusement parks, stadia, swimming pools, will not remain open. Schools, colleges and educational institutions will also remain shut.
Restaurants will be permitted with 50 per cent capacity from 8 am to 10 pm while bars can also operate with the same capacity, but from 12 noon to 10 pm. The Delhi Metro will function with half its capacity.
(With inputs from PTI)