Monday 17 January 2022
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High court orders Telangana govt to stop Christmas, New Year, Makar Sankranti festivities

The Telangana High Court today directed the state government to issue necessary instructions to its official machinery to prevent public gatherings during the ensuing Christmas, and Sankranti festivals. A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice N Tukaramji was hearing a batch of public interest petitions on Covid-19.

The bench directed the state to evolve a mechanism to check people, particularly at airports, coming into Telangana from other states.

Driving home a note of caution that the latest variant Omicron is spreading fast, the bench directed the state to strictly follow the instructions given by the central health ministry on 21 December to arrest the spread of the latest mutant of the China-origin coronavirus.

The panel, on the pleas made by Senior Counsel L Ravichander, specifically required the government to issue directives on the control and management of large public gatherings during the ensuing festival season from Christmas to Sankranthi.

The chief justice of the high court voiced concern about people still not using masks and taking other minimal preventive steps. When senior counsel pointed out the need for a mechanism at the State borders, the panel directed the government to consider setting up similar facilities as set up at the airport and if necessary. The panel stated that there was a need to prevent the interstate spread of the new variant.

Telangana is among the three worst Omicron-hit states in India after Maharashtra and Delhi.

The state reported 14 new Omicron cases on Wednesday and has so far recorded a total of 38 infections of the new coronavirus variant.

According to the state health department, as many as 259 passengers were screened at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport on Wednesday, of which, four cases were tested RTPCR positive. All four samples of the passengers travelling from “At risk” countries were sent for Genome Sequencing out of which two were tested positive for the Omicron variant.

The results of the four samples are awaited.

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