Combating COVID-19: Intercity bus services suspended in Maharashtra till March 31

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Mar 22 (ANI): Maharashtra government on Sunday temporarily suspended all intercity bus services till March 31, keeping in view the surging cases of coronavirus disease. However, essential services including banks and share markets will continue to work normally.

"Intercity bus services will remain suspended in Maharashtra till March 31. However, the BEST buses will ply on the roads of Mumbai for the people involved in essential services. All essential services including banks and share market will remain open," Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said while briefing on the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state.

The government today also imposed Section 144 across the state to contain the spread of the infection. All international flights have also been denied entry in the state.

Thackeray also requested the people to continue observing the 'Janata Curfew' till tomorrow morning, which was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week during a briefing to the nation in a bid to contain the rapid spread of the killer bug.

"The number of cases has increased considerably. I have no option left but to apply Section 144 in Maharashtra. No flights from outside India will be allowed to land in Mumbai," he stressed further.

Ten more people -- six from Mumbai and four from Pune -- have tested positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra, the Health Department said earlier today, taking the total positive cases within the state to 74.

Also, a 63-year-old man, who tested positive for COVID-19 and was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Mumbai, passed away on Saturday night, according to the Municipal Corporation Greater Mumbai.

With this, the total number of deaths in India due to COVID-19 now stands at 5. One death each has been reported from Delhi, Punjab, Karnataka, and Rajasthan till now.

"The percentage of employees working in government offices has been brought down to five per cent from 25 per cent. Only the people discharging essential duties will be allowed to use public transport till March 31," Thackeray told reporters here.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as of Sunday at 10 am, a total of 341 individuals in the country have been confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases. (ANI)