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Low-key welcome of New Year in Mumbai amid rise in COVID-19 cases, prohibitory orders


MUMBAI: For the second year in a row, the New Year eve celebrations remained muted in Mumbai in view of the order prohibiting public gatherings at popular places amid the rise in new COVID-19 cases.

Mumbaikars' favourite destinations like the Gateway of India, Marine Drive and seafronts at Dadar, Girgaon and Juhu wore almost a deserted look as police personnel deployed at these places and on streets ensured that the prohibitory order was implemented strictly, an official said on Saturday.

Police personnel were seen asking people to vacate these spots through the public announcement system before the 5 PM deadline on Friday.

"This is an appreciation post for you Mumbai. These deserted and silent streets speak volumes about your concern for the city and its safety. What a perfect welcome to 2022," Mumbai Police tweeted on Friday night.

The Bandra-Worli sea link, BMC building, CSMT station etc were illuminated with lights to welcome the New Year.

No lighting was done on the state secretariat.

Due to the curbs, citizens preferred to ring in the New Year with families and friends at hotels, restaurants, and in some cases, on terraces of their housing societies.

Nakabandis or checking of vehicles was conducted at 134 spots by the police.

Vehicles were checked and senior police officers patrolled streets, the official added.

From Friday night till the early Saturday morning, Traffic Police personnel took blood samples of motorists to check drunk driving and filed cases.

Similarly, cases were filed for rash driving, he said.

Another official said cases were registered against 1,375 drivers for violation of rules under the Motor Vehicles Act.

He said 18 people were found to be driving drunk.

Besides, 12 drivers were fined for rash driving, 408 for riding two-wheelers without wearing a helmet and 16 bikers for riding triple seat.

Cases were filed against six persons under section 279 (Rash driving or riding on a public way) of the Indian Penal Code.

Mumbai Police on Friday issued an order prohibiting people from visiting beaches, open grounds, sea faces, promenades, gardens, parks or similar public places between 5 pm and 5 am daily till January 15 in view of the prevailing coronavirus situation and the emergence of the Omicron variant.

The Maharashtra capital on Friday reported 5,631 new COVID-19 cases, almost 2,000 more than Thursday, which took the caseload in the city on the last day of the year to 7,85,110, as per the civic body.

This was a rise of 53 per cent over 3,671 cases recorded on Thursday.

As per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), out of 282 samples sent for genome sequencing, 156 (55 per cent) were found to be of Omicron variant, 89 (32 per cent) of Delta Derivative and 37 (13 per cent) of Delta variant, as of Friday.