In view of the rising graph of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, a night curfew has been announced in the state from Saturday night. Under the curfew, which will be imposed between 8 pm to 7 am, all restaurants, gardens and malls will remain shut and people will not be allowed to visit beaches. The Maharashtra government has also extended the COVID-19 curbs, imposed as part of its Mission Begin Again initiative, till April 15. Maharashtra on Saturday reported 166 COVID-19 deaths in 24 Hours, highest since last October, alongwith 35,726 new infections.
Struggling to arrest the fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, the Maharashtra government further announced a ban on holding of all types of gatherings, including political and religious, a day before new curbs on assembly of more than five persons in night will come into force. Drama theatres were also shut down starting Saturday night. However, the government exempted delivery of food in night hours in its new set of guidelines.
“Gatherings of more than five people will not be allowed from 8 pm to 7 am effective from midnight on 27th March. Violation will attract penalty of Rs 1,000 per person on offenders. “All public places including gardens and beaches will remain closed during the same period and violators will be fined with Rs 1,000 per person. Not wearing of face mask will attract Rs 500 fine while the same is Rs 1,000 for public spitting,” as per the order.
It said that holding of social, cultural, political and religious gatherings in the state is being banned completely. Auditoriums or drama theatres should not allow their property to be used for such events, it said.
In view of the rising graph of COVID-19 cases, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had on Friday directed officials to impose section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure under which gathering of five or more persons will be banned in night in the state beginning March 28. The CM had warned of stricter restrictions if people did not observe COVID-19 safety protocol.
As per the order issued on Saturday, a board will be put up on the door of COVID-19 patients for a period of 14 days that will be counted from the day a patient is in home isolation. The infected person will be stamped with the home quarantine seal, it said.
If such patient is found violating norms, he/she would be immediately shifted to a COVID Care Centre by local authorities concerned, stated the new rules. All these orders will remain effective till April 30, the order said.
Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to seal the residential societies that will report five or more COVID-19 cases. Announcing the decision Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said, "We are seeing a higher positivity rate in high-rises than in slums and 'chawls'."
Earlier, a member of the Maharashtra COVID-19 task force had said that imposition of lockdowns and similar measures have limited success in the fight against the pandemic. Maharashtra added 36,902 new infections on March 26, taking the cumulative tally to 26,37,735 while the overall death toll stood at 53,907. The state had 2,82,451 active cases as on Friday.
The Maharashtra government on Saturday released its 'Mission Begin again' guidelines for the state, aimed at regulating the Covid-19 surge. The guidelines will be applicable from tonight to April 15.
Here are the guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government:
Face coverings – wearing face covers, masks mandatory in public places, at workplace and during travel.
Social distancing in public places: People to maintain minimum distance of 6 feet in public.
Cinema halls, malls, auditoriums, restaurants to shut at 8 pm till 7 am. However, home deliveries will be allowed. Night curfew and strict regulations will be enforced during this time period, and violators will be fined for flouting them.
Fines: Penalty of Rs 1,000 for flouting night curfew rules. No-mask fine is Rs 500.
Spitting in public places punishable with fine according to area regulations.
Consumption of liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco in public places not allowed.
Work from Home: The government as encouraged the practice of work from home for companies, while staggering work hours.
Screening and Hygiene: Provision of thermal screening, hand wash and sanitiser to made available at entry, exit points of common areas.
Frequent sanitisation of common facilities, workplaces between shifts.
Social distancing: Employees to ensure adequate physical distancing, staggered work hours and lunch breaks.
All private offices to operate at 50% capacity. Health and other essential services have been excluded from this rule.
No social, cultural, political, religious gatherings will be allowed in the state.