UP: Multiplexes, gyms & stadiums can reopen from Monday

The administration claimed the second Covid wave had been “eliminated”, with the state recording only 133 Covid cases in 24 hours — the lowest daily infection count since March 21.

The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday announced further relaxations in its Covid-19 restrictions, allowing multiplexes, cinema halls, stadiums and gyms to reopen for five days a week from July 5.

The administration claimed the second Covid wave had been “eliminated”, with the state recording only 133 Covid cases in 24 hours — the lowest daily infection count since March 21. The government said the curbs were being relaxed because of the significant drop in infection, pointing out that as per the latest report 24 districts had not reported new cases and the figures were in single digit in 49 districts. Lucknow and Prayagraj were the only two districts to report cases in double digits in 24 hours, with both reporting 11 infections each. The day before, Lucknow had reported 14 new cases and Varanasi had reported 12 infections.

The decision to relax the curbs was taken at a high-level Covid management meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Additional Chief Secretary Navneet Sehgal said, “Today during the meeting on Covid, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has taken the important decision to allow multiplexes, cinema halls, gyms and stadiums to open with Covid protocols. Special guidelines will soon be released for the same.”

The relaxations will come into effect from 7 am on July 5, with the cinema halls, multiplexes and stadiums allowed to remain open till 9 pm five days a week. These establishments will have to operate at 50 per cent capacity. Gyms in containment zones, however, will not be allowed to operate.

The government said Adityanath had issued instructions about Covid helpdesks near public places ensuring the compliance of Covid protocols such as social distancing and wearing of masks.

Meanwhile, the state administration said the latest case numbers mark a 99 per cent reduction in infection count since 38,055 cases on April 24, which marked the peak of the second wave. The active caseload has also hit an all-time low, dropping to 2,560. The government, however, clarified that the number of tests had not decreased. According to it, 2.7 lakh tests were conducted in 24 hours.

Despite the decline in infection, the chief minister appealed to people to follow Covid protocols and ensure 100 per cent use of masks and sanitisers, and maintain social distancing. “Transmission has been controlled but the virus still exists,” he added.

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