New year celebrations may not be possible in Rajasthan as the government imposes a curfew to stave off a possible surge in COVID-19 cases. According to an order issued by the Home Department there will be a curfew in place from December 31 night to January 1 morning - effectively making it impossible for those wishing to count down to the new year in public spaces.
The night curfew is in effect for all cities in Rajasthan with a population of over one lakh. The restrictions will remain in place from 8 pm on December 31 to 6 am on January 1. No New Year party will be organised on the occasion while bursting of firecrackers will be banned. According to the order, markets will be closed at 7 pm.
With COVID-19 cases in Rajasthan crossing the three lakh mark recently, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had announced earlier this week that there would be a complete ban on gatherings, mass events and fireworks and so on throughout the state for the coming few weeks. He also warned that "police patrolling and action will be more stringent on roads and other public places". Explaining that the 'Jan Andolan against Covid-19' had been extended till January 31, he had urged people to stay home whenever possible - even at the time of New Year celebrations.
Rajasthan however is not the only state to take such a step. Similar curfews have also been announced by Maharashtra and Karnataka recently.
The Maharashtra government has imposed the night curfew in municipal corporation areas (cities) from December 22 to January 5 as a precautionary step amid concerns over detection of a new variant of the coronavirus in Britain. Mumbaikars can go out during the curfew, in force from 11 pm to 6 am, for valid reasons, but not in a group of more than five persons, a top police official said.
And in Karnataka, a night curfew will be imposed between 11 pm to 5 am from December 24 till January 1 across the state. According to the government order imposing the night curfew, while movement of individuals shall remain strictly prohibited between 11 pm to 5 am, except for essential activities, there shall be no restriction in movement of all types of goods through trucks, goods vehicles or any goods carriers, including empty vehicles.
(With inputs from agencies)