Delhi: Ensure no Christmas, New Year gathering in national capital, DDMA tells DMs amid Omicron scare

The DMs and DCPs have also been directed to tighten the enforcement machinery to ensure that people follow social-distancing norms.

It ordered the district magistrates (DMs) to identify potential COVID-19 superspreader areas ahead of Christmas and New Year. (File/Reuters)
It ordered the district magistrates (DMs) to identify potential COVID-19 superspreader areas ahead of Christmas and New Year. (File/Reuters)

Amid a rise in coronavirus cases and the threat of its Omicron variant, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday directed district magistrates to ensure no Christmas and New Year gathering takes place in the national capital.

However, restaurants and bars will continue to operate with up to 50 per cent of the seating capacity. Marriage-related gatherings are permitted with a maximum of 200 people in attendance.

The DDMA directed the district magistrates (DMs) to identify potential COVID-19 superspreader areas ahead of Christmas and New Year.

“All social/political/cultural/religious/festival related gatherings are prohibited throughout NCT of Delhi… All district magistrates and DCPs shall ensure that no cultural event/gatherings/congregation takes place for celebrating Christmas or New Year in the NCT of Delhi,” the DDMA order stated.

The national capital logged 125 cases on Wednesday, the highest since June 22, when it had reported 134 cases of the infection.

The district magistrates and deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) have also been directed to tighten the enforcement machinery to ensure people follow social-distancing norms and wear masks.

“All district magistrates shall conduct an intensive survey of the entire area under their jurisdiction and identify those pockets, colonies markets and crowded places which have the potential of becoming superspreaders of coronavirus and its Omicron variant,” the DDMA said in the order.

It said concerted action shall be taken in identified pockets according to the prescribed protocol which includes test, track and treatment, prompt and effective containment measures and enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour.

It stated all DMs and DCPs shall deploy a sufficient number of enforcement teams on the field for keeping utmost vigil at public places to enforce strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour to avoid any possible surge in COVID-19 cases.

Taking note of incidents of violations, DDMA said that since restrictions are not being strictly complied with, all DMs and DCPs will conduct surprise checks and take strict penal action against defaulters.

India has so far recorded 213 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus across 15 states and Union Territories out of which 90 people have recovered or migrated, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday.

Delhi has recorded a maximum of 57 cases of the Omicron variant followed by 54 in Maharashtra, 24 in Telangana, 19 in Karnataka, 18 in Rajasthan, 15 in Kerala and 14 in Gujarat.

The national capital’s first case of Omicron was reported on December 5 when a 37-year-old fully-vaccinated man who arrived in the city from Tanzania was found infected with the latest variant of coronavirus.

The DDMA also directed authorities to convene meetings with RWAs, market associations and inform them about “persistent increase” in Covid cases and also the emergence of the Omicron variant.

They should also be requested to take all requisite steps ensuring strict compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour such as wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing and frequently hand sanitising.

“MTAs (Market Traders Associations) should implement ‘No Mask No Entry’ policy at shops and workplaces,” the DDMA said.

Following a meeting of the DDMA on Monday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that samples of all Covid-positive patients would be sent for genome sequencing.

The genome sequencing of all positive cases started on Tuesday.

He had also made an appeal to the public to not let their guards down and wear masks to arrest the spread of coronavirus.

In an order issued on December 15, DDMA had extended till December 31 midnight its COVID-19-related curbs such as the ban on social and cultural gatherings and the cap on bars and restaurants to operate with 50 per cent of seating capacity.

In an order, the DDMA said the currently permitted and restricted activities in Delhi will continue up to the intervening night of December 31 and January 1.

Under a phased reopening with an improved COVID-19 situation in the city, the DDMA has permitted most of the activities. However, political, social, cultural, religious and such other gatherings are still not permitted.

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