In an order issued on Wednesday, the Kerala government has said that all New Year’s Eve celebrations in the state must end by 10 pm on Thursday. The government has also decided to ban public gatherings as part of the New Year’s celebration. The government decided to impose curbs given the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Given the Covid-19 situation in the state, public gathering for New Year celebration is likely to result in a further spike on cases if Covid-19 protocols are adhered to,” the order said.
The government has made it clear that those celebrating New Year must mandatorily wear facemasks, adhere to social distancing norms, and use sanitisers. The government has said that action will be taken against those violating Covid-19 protocols.
Kerala has joined other Indian states in imposing New Year celebration curbs after the new coronavirus strain was found in the United Kingdom. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and New Delhi are some of the other states that have imposed curbs on New Year celebrations.
Earlier, Kochi’s iconic annual New Year bash, Cochin Carnival, was cancelled for the first time in 36 years due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Tens of thousands of people from around Kochi, Mattancherry, Fort Kochi and other nearby areas visit the annual New Year bash every year. This year, with Kerala still recording a high number of daily Covid-19 cases, the organisers decided to call off the Carnival.