Bengaluru, New Year eve revelry on December 31 night would not be allowed in public places across Bengaluru, especially in the downtown, to contain coronavirus spread, a senior minister said on Friday.
"New Year eve celebrations in public places and high streets like M.G. Road and Brigade Road in the city centre are banned to prevent crowding and avoid large gatherings, which pose risk of spreading the infection," state Health Minister K. Sudhakar told reporters here.
As thousands of revellers throng the high streets in the central business district and the upscale localities across the city to usher in the New Year, the police will be deployed to prevent people from gathering in public places.
Though Covid cases have been declining in the city, which accounts for 50 per cent of the southern state's caseloads, experts fear a second wave of the virus due to cold weather and violation of virus-induced guidelines by the citizens.
"Citizens can have the New Year eve bash at their homes and residential areas by wearing mask, maintaining physical distancing and sanitising their hands to ensure their safety in the pandemic times," said Sudhakar.
State Revenue Minister R. Ashok said that though it is customary for people to celebrate the New Year's eve, since the virus has devastated the country over the last nine months, the occasion should be observed solemnly and in the memory of those who lost their lives due to the pandemic.
"Public celebrations, including religious gatherings, marriages and Christmas will be limited to 200 people from December 20 to January 2, 2021. Bars, pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to host guests more than 50 per cent of their capacity at a time to ensure social distancing and their safety," said Sudhkar.
A technical advisory committee, set up by the state government to contain the pandemic, said in a report that people have to strictly follow the guidelines in December and January to prevent a second wave of infections in January and February in the city or the state.
Clarifying that the state government was braced up to face the second wave of the pandemic, Sudhakar said hospitals in 10 districts and 30 taluks have been equipped with oxygen generators and other life-saving medical equipment at a cost of Rs 38 crore to contain the virus spread over the next three months.
"Rs 34 crore has been earmarked to buy 10 lakh rapid antigen kits and medicines to treat Covid patients over the next 90 days in the event of cases going up again in the state," Sudhakar said.
The state has registered 8,89,01 positive cases till Thursday of which 18,593 are active cases.