COVID-19: Only govt staff can use local trains; media excluded

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Mumbai, Apr 22 (PTI)With new coronavirus-induced restrictions coming into force in Maharashtra from Thursday night, the state government said only government personnel and health workers will be allowed to travel by suburban trains in Mumbai.

The fresh restrictions under the government's `Break- the-Chain' programme came into force at 8 pm on Thursday and will remain effective till 7 am on May 1.

No one else even notified as essential services or under exemptions as per earlier government orders will be allowed to use local trains during this period, said a statement issued by the office of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray here.

Government entities include civic bodies of Mumbai, Thane and other corporations, zilla parishads, government authorities, statutory commissions and agencies, the statement said.

Accredited media personnel are prominent among those excluded from the use of suburban trains which are the lifeline of Mumbai and its satellite towns.

Work from home for government staff was not sanction of leave and 85 per cent of such employees must work remotely, the CMO said.

It is expected that government departments will embrace e-office as well as tele-meeting systems, it said.

A separate statement from the chief minister's office (CMO) said essential services or those excluded from the curbs can display their organisation's identity card and travel by private vehicles for their work.

Offices excluded from the curbs and those falling under essential services category will have to maintain only 15 per cent attendance at work, it added.

The fresh restrictions on travel, attendance in offices and wedding functions are aimed at curbing the rising COVID-19 cases.

According to an order issued by Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, government offices - central, state and local authorities - will work with 15 per cent attendance except those in emergency services directly connected to management of the pandemic.

Municipal and state transport buses will operate at 50 per cent capacity with no standing passengers, it said. PTI MR RSY RSY