Lucknow: A night curfew has been announced in Uttar Pradesh – from 11 pm to 5 am, starting today – amid growing concern over the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
In addition, UP has also announced additional restrictions – only 200 people will be permitted to attend marriages and social functions, at which all necessary Covid-safety protocols to be followed.
Poll-bound UP becomes the second state, after Madhya Pradesh, to impose night-time restrictions.
Yesterday Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan said a night curfew of 11 pm to 5 am would be enforced effective immediately. The state hasn’t yet recorded an Omicron Covid case.
The Uttar Pradesh night curfew order also comes a day after the Allahabad High Court requested the Election Commission to consider postponing Assembly elections due in two months.
With memories of thousands of people – not wearing face masks or practicing social distancing – at campaign rallies in Bengal and other states ahead of elections there earlier this year, the High Court also requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban poll-related gatherings in the state.
Thirty-one new COVID-19 cases were reported across UP on Thursday – a hugely satisfactory reduction from the tens of thousands detected daily in April-May.
However, although the daily numbers are low, experts are worried about the steadily increasing ‘R’ factor, or reproduction rate, of the virus, which warns of a potential explosion of infections.
On Tuesday the centre, in a letter to all states and UTs, warned governments that the Omicron variant was three times more infectious than the Delta strain that led to the deadly second wave.
The centre called on states and UTs to re-activate Covid ‘war rooms’ to better plan and coordinate testing, tracking and containment strategies in anticipation of a new wave of COVID-19 cases.
The letter – signed by the Union Health Secretary – also listed a series of prevention and containment measures that included extensive testing, night curfew and regulation of gatherings.
With inputs from NDTV