Maharashtra government announces strict curbs in state after surge in Covid-19 cases
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday night announced stringent restrictions in the state due to a huge surge in the cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The state government has also issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the curbs.
The restrictions will come into effect from 8pm on Thursday and will be in place till 7am on May 1, according to state government's order.
"The state government is satisfied that the state of Maharashtra is threatened with the spread of Covid-19 virus, and therefore it is imperative to take certain emergency measures to prevent and contain the spread of virus," the Maharashtra government order said.
The state government's SOPs say that no travel will be allowed by public or private transport unless it is for essential services, medical reasons or vaccination.
The number of guests at weddings have been capped at 25 and the function must not go on beyond two hours, according to the government order. The families who are found flouting the order, will be fined ₹50,000 and the "misused" location shall be closed till promulgation of Covid-19 as a disaster remains in force.
The government and private offices have been asked to allow only15 per cent staff. The SOPs also say that only those private offices which provide essential services or are in exempted categories can function.
This comes on a day when Maharashtra recorded 568 deaths due to Covid-19 - its highest ever since the beginning of the pandemic - and 67,468 fresh cases. This pushed the statewide tally to 40,27,827 and death toll to 61,911, according to the bulletin of Maharashtra government's health department.
The highest statewide daily count so far - 68,631 - was reported on April 18.
Out of the 568 fatalities, 303 occurred in the last 48 hours, the health department said.
The ministers in Maharashtra confirmed earlier on Wednesday that chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will announce a stringent lockdown. On Tuesday, the issue of a stricter lockdown was discussed in a cabinet meeting where the majority was in favour of a long lockdown in the state, instead of present restrictions which they said have not been able to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
“There is no alternative, but to go for a strict lockdown," Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said after Tuesday's meeting.
Maharashtra has already been under restrictions such as night curfew and district lockdowns due to rising number of Covid-19 cases, which have shown a sharp surge since February. Last week, Section 144, which bars the gathering of more than four people, was also imposed.
There have been concerns in Maharashtra over the deteriorating Covid-19 situation. The state health department has projected that there would be a shortage of beds in nearly all districts by May 2.