Telangana HC asks government to impose curbs in view of Omicron

Hyderabad, Dec 23 (IANS) The Telangana High Court on Thursday directed the state government to impose restrictions on public gatherings during festivals and New Year celebrations in view of Omicron.

The court asked the government to issue orders within three days to curb public gatherings during Christmas, New Year celebrations and Sankranthi.

A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice N. Tukaramji gave the directions while hearing petitions about Covid-19 situation.

The petitioners brought to the court’s notice that cases of Omicron, the new variant of Covid-19, are on the rise in the state. They also submitted that during official functions, political programmes and celebrations, basic precautionary measures like wearing of masks are not being followed. They also told the court that in the coming days, there will be more public gatherings for festivals and New Year celebrations.

Responding to these submissions, the court asked the government to take necessary steps to prevent large public gatherings. It pointed out that states like Delhi and Maharashtra have already imposed the restrictions.

The court also suggested that the authorities conduct Covid-19 tests on the state borders and at railway and bus stations to check the spread of Omicron.

The state government was directed to implement the guidelines issued by the Centre on December 21.

The court orders came a day after Telangana reported a spike in Omicron cases. As many as 14 new Omicron cases were reported on Wednesday, pushing the state’s tally to 38.

Meanwhile, Director of Public Health Dr G. Srinivasa Rao said no Omicron cases were reported on Thursday. Six of the passengers from “at risk” countries tested positive for Covid-19 and their samples were sent for genome sequencing to find out if they were infected by the new variant or not.

Results of genome sequencing reports of 10 cases were awaited.

A total of 10,029 passengers arrived at Hyderabad Airport from 10 “at risk” countries since December 1. Of them, 648 arrived on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, 177 new Covid cases were reported in the state on Wednesday, pushing the cumulative tally to 6,80,251. One person succumbed to the infection, taking the death toll to 4,018.

A total of 190 cases recovered during the last 24 hours taking the recovery rate to 98.88 per cent. Health officials said 3,596 cases are under treatment/isolation.

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