File image of police deployment outside the Vidhana Soudha complex in Bengaluru, Karnataka
With as many as 10 passengers testing positive for the new COVID-19 strain, Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that strict measures will be in place in Bengaluru and across the state to discourage large number of people gathering for New Year's Eve celebrations.
Unlike in the past, people would not be able to gather in large numbers in the city in areas like MG Road, Brigade Road, Koramangala and Indira Nagar, among other places, as prohibitory orders are in place.
"...Also, Deputy Commissioners of Police have been given the responsibility of controlling pubs and clubs that come under their respective jurisdictions," Bommai said.
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Bengaluru police on December 30 revised the timings of the prohibitory orders. Celebrations and gatherings will be banned in the city from 12 pm on December 31 till 6 am on January 1. The previous prohibitory order was from 6 pm on December 31 till 6 am on January 1.
Section 144 has also been imposed in Mangaluru city ahead of the New Year celebrations.
The government, through guidelines and orders, has prohibited parties, special DJ dance programmes and special events at clubs, pubs, restaurants and other places that attract people in large numbers without physical distancing.
Gatherings at public places and roads for celebrations has been barred, but routine activities can be carried out in these areas.
In-house celebrations in residential complexes and private clubs may be held for residents and members respectively, without organising any special events.
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The minister also said that directions have been issued to not hold DJ events, parties and open-air celebrations in cities like Mysuru and Chikkamagaluru, and especially Bengaluru. Top police officials have been tasked with implementing these orders.
The state government had earlier announced an eight-day night curfew amid concerns over a new COVID-19 variant spreading in the United Kingdom, but it decided to withdraw the curfew just hours before it was to be enforced.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on December 30 said that the danger of coronavirus has still not subsided and there should be no lowering of the guard against the pandemic.
"Dear citizens, the danger of corona has still not subsided. As we enter into the New Year even the slightest ignorance regarding the pandemic is not done," Yediyurappa said.
"Follow the government's guidelines and rules and stay safe by taking all the necessary precautionary measures, and cooperate," he tweeted.
Karnataka on December 31 added 973 new COVID-19 cases and seven related fatalities, taking the infection count to 9.18 lakh and the death toll to 12,081. There are 11,610 active cases in the state, the health department said in its bulletin. Till date, 1,965 UK-returned passengers have been tested. Out of these, 31 tested positive, 1,686 were negative and results of 248 are awaited.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak