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Himachal Pradesh imposes Covid curbs: Complete ban on religious gatherings, 5-day week in govt offices

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Shimla, Jan 09: The Himachal Pradesh government on Sunday announced five-day week in its offices besides banning social and religious gatherings from January 10 to 24 to check the coronavirus spread.

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It capped the attendance of staff at government offices to 50 per cent of the total strength from Monday to Friday during the period.

The government also prohibited the gathering of more than 100 people for indoor and 300 people for outdoor academic, sport, cultural and political events, according to an order. The restrictions, however, will not be applicable on offices dealing with emergency services. The state till January 8 has recorded 2,31,587 coronavirus cases, including 3,864 deaths.

Earlier, the state government had imposed a night curfew till further orders and shut the educational institutions till January 26.

"All offices of government departments/ PSUs/ local bodies/ autonomous bodies, including the HP Secretariat, will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays and these offices will operate with 50 per cent attendance on working days," the order issued by state Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh said.

"These restrictions will not be on offices dealing with emergency or essential services such as health, police, fire, banks, electricity, water and sanitation, public transport, telecom, excise, budget and related incident services/activities etc,” it added.

Academic, sport, entertainment, cultural and political gatherings are permitted up to 50 per cent of the capacity of venue, subject to a maximum of 100 people in indoor areas and 300 people in open spaces, it added.

However, the High Court of Himachal Pradesh will issue separate orders with respect to judicial offices, it added.

The order said, "All social and religious gatherings shall be completely banned in the state." There shall also be a total ban on langars (community kitchens) across the state, it added. Prior intimation of gatherings shall have to be given to the authorities, who may impose additional conditions. District magistrates may fix timings of shops or markets after taking the Covid situation into account.

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