Maha govt issues SOP to deploy state buses to ferry stranded peopleUpdated: May 08, 2020 12:44 IST
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Thursday issued the standard operating procedure (SOP) to deploy 10,000 state transport buses to ferry stranded people to their home districts in the state, while amending an earlier order and doing away with the need to attach a medical certificate to the registration form to facilitate their return journey.
State transport minister Anil Parab held talks with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray during a strategy meeting held on Thursday to discuss the measures that need to be taken to aggressively contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in the state.
“We’ve made arrangements for 10,000 state-run buses to ferry these stranded people in a group of 22-24 people. We’ve asked divisional officers to set up a control room to keep the stranded people informed about the bus service,” Parab said.
On Thursday, Maharashtra recorded the second-highest spike in Covid-19 positive cases on a single day, as it reported 1,216 new cases. The maximum number of Covid-19 related deaths on a single day in the state was also reported on Thursday at 43, taking the overall toll to 694.
Maharashtra has recorded over 1,000 cases in the last two days, raising concerns over the spread of the pandemic.
In Mumbai, the epicentre of the outbreak in the state, 680 new Covid-19 positive cases were detected on Thursday, as the total count rose to 11,394.
State health minister Rajesh Tope said that the government has directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities to start aggressive institutional quarantine to curb the spread of Covid-19 cases, which has also been suggested by a visiting Central team.
He, however, admitted that social distancing norms cannot always be ensured for residents, who live cheek-by-jowl in cramped tenements such as in the congested Dharavi slums, where institutional quarantine may work as the best precautionary measure.
CM Thackeray has hinted at extending the ongoing lockdown restrictions till May 31.
On Thursday, the state government amended an earlier order and issued a clarification that there is no need to attach a medical certificate to the registration form to facilitate the journey for stranded people back to their respective districts.
The decision was taken after serpentine queues were seen outside private practitioners’ chambers and following allegations that some doctors were overcharging the stranded for the medical certificate.
The BMC authorities have reserved 3,343 rooms in 88 city hotels to quarantine the 1,900 stranded Indian nationals, who started flying into the city from Thursday evening by special flights from abroad.
The incoming Indian nationals are being allowed to move into the hotels for a compulsory 14-day quarantine after they undergo screening by a team of BMC doctors.
The state health department has conducted 2,02,105 tests at various public and private facilities across Maharashtra. So far, 1,83,880 people have tested negative.
Presently, Maharashtra has 1,087 active containment zones. Around 12,021 survey teams, comprising doctors and paramedical staff, have screened over 51.76 lakh people in the state for SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, the health department officials said.