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Coronavirus pandemic and variant Omicron

Women from different districts come to attend a rally organized by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 21, 2021 in Allahabad, India.
Women from different districts come to attend a rally organized by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 21, 2021 in Allahabad, India. (Ritesh Shukla/Getty Images)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi staged a large protest on Thursday seemingly to protest against public health protocols.

Modi was speaking to hundreds of thousands of people on Thursday to announce development projects in his Varanasi constituency in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, but in the video From the event shared by Modi’s office, a handful of supporters wore masks. There seems to be very little social distancing.

Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, will hold elections in early 2022. Although Modi has not held any election rallies in the state yet, he has organized large gatherings, causing a stir. raised concerns that the lax attitude towards Covid-19 could lead to another spike in cases with the looming Omicron variant.

Modi has issued numerous appeals to the public to wear masks and get vaccinated. On Wednesday night, in a meeting with top government officials, he directed authorities to ensure a proper health infrastructure to deal with any emerging challenges. by Omicron, his office said.

The national government has yet to put in place any restrictions on public gatherings, and is unlikely to do so. Throughout the country’s devastating second wave of Covid-19 cases, there was no nationwide lockdown. Modi delayed the state governments and 35 of the 36 of them introduced their own restrictions in the meantime.

As cases increased again, the government in Uttar Pradesh announced a curfew would be in place from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting on December 25. Other cities like Mumbai, New Delhi and other cities. States like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh have also announced strict protocols including restricting gatherings before Christmas and New Year. There are currently no nationwide bans or limits on any form of gathering.

The federal government has not enacted any Covid-related restrictions in the country.

India on Friday reported 34,772,626 cases of Covid-19 infection since the start of the pandemic, including at least 236 cases of the Omicron variant and 479,133 deaths, according to the Indian Ministry of Health. , according to the Indian Ministry of Health.

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