Uttar Pradesh, which tops India’s Covid inoculation chart with more than 270 million doses administered so far, is taking the baby steps towards easing Covid restrictions.
However, the UP assembly elections remain a hurdle in further relaxation of the Covid safety norms.
The state government had re-imposed restrictions to curb the growing trajectory of Covid cases in the first week of January 2022 following the Omicron scare. The curbs included closure of the educational institutions, cinema halls, gyms, spas and banquet halls in districts with more than 1,000 active cases.
While schools were closed completely, the cinema halls and restaurants were allowed to function with 50 percent capacity.
The night curfew was also imposed across the state from 10 pm to 6 am even as ceilings were imposed on social gatherings such as marriages as well.
However, with the third wave turning out to be mildly stinging, the UP government has allowed the educational institutions to reopening of schools while adhering to the standard Covid safety protocols such as facemasks, hand sanitiser, social distancing, vaccination etc.
Since UP is witnessing assembly elections from Feb 10 to March 7, the government is biding time to relax restrictions further since political activity is gathering momentum and the state does not want to take chances.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has also issued strict Covid appropriate guidelines to the political parties with regards to canvassing and electioneering, banning big rallies and public meetings.