Maharashtra imposes restrictions daily cases cross 40k

Published on Jan 09, 2022 01:11 AM IST

The state government issued new restrictions on Saturday in light of the rising number of cases of Covid-19

Maharashtra added 41,434 fresh cases, with 20,318 from Mumbai alone. (Bhushan Koyande/ HT Photo)
Maharashtra added 41,434 fresh cases, with 20,318 from Mumbai alone. (Bhushan Koyande/ HT Photo)

Mumbai: The state government issued new restrictions on Saturday in light of the rising number of cases of Covid-19, as Maharashtra added 41,434 fresh cases, with 20,318 from Mumbai alone.

People are disallowed from stepping out between 11 pm and 5 am unless it is for essential work. The order also disallowed movement of five or more people between 5 am and 11 pm — a likely reference to prevent crowding in public places. However, citizens will be allowed to travel by public transport provided they are fully vaccinated, the order said.

Essential work includes medical emergencies, essential services, and movement to and from airports, railway stations and bus stations with a valid ticket, as well as travel to and from sites of work that are open for 24 hours, such as call centres.

State health minister Rajesh Tope said that the government looked at people’s livelihood, especially daily wage labourers while introducing the restrictions. “We aim to control the movement of people as much as possible. We want the businesses of people to continue, especially the daily wage earners. We have taken a middle path [in restrictions]. The government’s focus is on reducing crowding,” he said.

The order signed by chief secretary Debashish Chakrabarty shuts down gymnasiums, spas, wellness centres and beauty salons — which had been permitted to open up on August 12, 2021, at reduced capacity. Swimming pools, which are yet to open up in the state, were to continue to remain shut. Entertainment parks, zoos, museums and forts as well as other local tourist spots will be shut down till further notice, the order stated. Any order on beaches and bandstands would be issued by the Mumbai civic body.

Restaurants and eateries will be allowed to operate but with 50% capacity. They will be required to shut at 10 pm and open at 8 am. Home deliveries will be permitted on all days and even beyond 10 pm. Cinema halls, theatres, and auditoriums will continue to operate at 50% capacity but must shut between 10 pm and 8 am, the order stated. The order directed management of these places to set up rapid antigen test booths and allow entry to only fully vaccinated people. Hair cutting saloons will continue to operate at 50% capacity and strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour was expected.

Iqbal Singh Chahal, Mumbai municipal commissioner on Saturday said that the restrictions laid down by the state government will be enforced by the civic administration. No fresh guidelines will be issued by the municipal corporation, he said.

“These are primary measures to contain the spread of the virus. Though the daily numbers are high, it is not an alarming situation. We can dial up the restrictions in a gradual manner as we progress in this current wave,” said a government senior official requesting anonymity.

The order restricted entry into government offices unless the person possessed written permission from the head of the department. The order also directed private offices to stagger work hours and prioritise work from home for their employees. Not more than 50% attendance in office would be permitted.

The state capped gatherings at weddings, social, religious, cultural and political events at 50 people and only 20 people would be allowed for funerals and last rites.

Meanwhile, as the drive to give the ‘precautionary’ dose for senior citizens kicks off from tomorrow (Monday, January 10), the state health department is short of vaccines, the minister said. Tope said that the state had demanded Covaxin and Covishield doses from the Centre as the booster dose for people over age 60 will commence from next week.

“As the vaccination of 15 to 18 years is underway, along with the regular immunisation drive. We will start the drive for the precautionary dose for people over age 60. We need 60 lakh Covishield and 40 lakh Covaxin doses. The demand for the same has been made to the ministry of health and family welfare and we are confident the doses will be provided, as there is no shortage,” Tope said.

Maharashtra reported 133 new cases of the Omicron variant, taking the tally to 1,009 in the state. Of these, 439 have been discharged following a negative RT-PCR test.


    Swapnil Rawal is Principal Correspondent with the Hindustan Times. He covers urban development and infrastructure. He had long stints with leading national dailies and has experience of over a decade in journalism.

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