Restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which bars assembly of more than four people, have been extended till August 31 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar district which includes the twin cities of Noida and Greater Noida, an official order stated on Friday.

Political, social, sporting or religious congregations, protest rallies or processions will remain banned across Noida and Greater Noida during the period, the district police said.

The order has been issued by the district police in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, even as “Unlock 3” – the third phase of easing of restrictions imposed as part of the coronavirus lockdown – begins across the country from today.

“Restrictions under CrPC section 144 will remain in force in Gautam Buddh Nagar till August 31,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Ashutosh Dwivedi said.

Except for medical personnel and essential service providers, nobody would be allowed to go in or out of containment zones in Gautam Buddh Nagar, he said in the order.

All educational institutions, cinema halls, auditoriums, swimming pools, bars and assembly halls will remain closed till August 31. Yoga institutes and gyms shall remain closed till August 4, according to the order.

Nobody is allowed step outdoors without a face mask/cover and spitting is strictly prohibited, the order stated.

It advised those above the age of 65 or with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below 10 years of age to avoid stepping out of their homes.

Restrictions will be imposed in the district from 10 pm on every Friday till 5 am on Monday during which outdoor movement of people except those in essential services shall remain prohibited, according to the order.

“Strict action will be taken against anyone who violates the restriction orders under Indian Penal Code Section 188 (disobedience to order duly put into effect by public servant),” Dwivedi stated in the order.

Gautam Buddh Nagar, adjoining Delhi, has so far recorded 5,203 COVID-19 cases, of which 796 are active. There have been 42 deaths linked to COVID-19 in the district, while more than 4,365 patients have been discharged after treatment, according to official data.