New Delhi, Dec 31 (efe-epa).- The government on Thursday imposed a night curfew in the Indian capital to restrict mass New Year celebrations after detecting an increasing number of cases of a more contagious strain of the coronavirus in the second-worst country affected by Covid-19.
“Night curfew will be in force (not more than five persons to assemble at public places) and that no New Year celebratory events, congregations and gatherings at public places will be permitted” on the nights of Dec.31 and Jan. 1, 2021, a Delhi government order said.
The curbs will be from 11 pm to 6 am on both nights.
However, there will be no restriction on the movement of people and goods during the curfew period.
The order by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, in particular, referred to the “threat posed by the mutant UK strain of Covid-19 virus”, which is significantly more infectious than the earlier strain and first surfaced in Britain.
“Gatherings, congregations and public celebrations of New Year pose a considerable threat of spread of the (the) virus and may cause (a) setback to the appreciable gains made in the suppression of chain of transmission of Covid-19 cases in Delhi.”
The federal ministry of home affairs on Monday advised regional governments to “impose local restrictions, with a view to contain the spread of Covid-19, such as night curfew” based on their assessment of the situation.
Other Indian cities like Mumbai in the west and Bangalore and Chennai in the south have also imposed similar restrictions.
India on Wednesday confirmed the first six cases of the new strain of the coronavirus in people arriving from the United Kingdom.
The number, as of Thursday, reached 25 in India, sparking concerns of a new outbreak in the country that has reported nearly 10.3 million Covid-19 cases, including more than 148,700 fatalities.
India has already put in place a preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant in the country.
As part of such measures, the government suspended all flights coming from the UK from Dec.23 until Jan.7.
However, some 33,000 passengers had flown in from Nov.25 before the ban came into place.
The detection of the rapidly-spreading virus has come as India had slowed down the virus outbreak after hitting the peak in September. EFE-EPA