Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, Nagpur and Aurangabad on Tuesday began imposing fresh restrictions on the movement of people.
While Nagpur district has decided to clamp down on social, political, cultural events and ordered to shut schools, colleges, and coaching classes till 7 March, Aurangabad city has imposed a night curfew till 8 March.
The restrictions came to place days after Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray told people to follow "COVID-appropriate" behaviour and safety norms.
"The pandemic is raising its head in the state again, but whether this is a second wave will be known in eight to 15 days," Thackeray had said on Sunday announcing that religious, social, and political gatherings will be prohibited in the state from Monday (22 February).
"Wear masks, observe discipline, and maintain social distancing to avoid another lockdown," Thackeray had warned.
There has been a surge in cases in some districts of Maharashtra recently. However, the state had on Monday seen a slight dip in cases after logging over 6,000 cases for three days in a row. According to an official statement from the health department, with 5,210 fresh infections, Maharashtra's COVID-19 tally rose to 21,06,094 on Monday. With 18 new deaths reported on Monday, the state's fatality count rose to 51,806.
On the other hand, 5,035 patients recovered on Monday, taking the number of persons discharged from hospitals till now to 19,99,982.
According to reports, the state has imposed a one-week lockdown in the Amravati division (till 1 March) while night curbs have been placed in Pune.
According to a report in The Hindustan Times, the state has clamped down on movement on people in Mumbai, Nagpur, Pimpri Chinchwad, Nashik, Aurangabad, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli, Akola, Yavatmal, Washim and Buldhana. Here is what these restrictions entail:
Nagpur: Schools, major market shut still 7 March
In Nagpur, strict curbs have been introduced, including prohibiting social, political, cultural events and keeping schools, colleges and coaching classes shut from Tuesday (today, 23 February) till 7 March. The restrictions were announced by Maharashtra minister Nitin Raut on Monday in view of the recent rise in cases in the district.
As of Tuesday, Nagpur had reported 1,43,843 new cases and 4,283 deaths. As many as 710 new cases and eight deaths were recorded on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters after chairing a review meeting, the district guardian minister said major markets will also not open on Saturdays and Sundays from Tuesday till 7 March.
Marriage halls will be non-operational from 25 February to 7 March, he added. The district administration has been directed to ramp up COVID-19 testing to tackle the surge in COVID cases.
According to a report by the Times of India, restaurants will be allowed to operate with 50 percent capacity till 9 pm, two hours lesser than was allowed earlier. The minister clarified that there would not be a full lockdown and also claimed that no new coronavirus mutation had been found in the district.
Pune: Night curbs announced; hotels, restaurants to shut by 11 pm
Schools, colleges, and private coaching classes in Pune district will remain closed till 28 February, while hotels and restaurants will have to close down by 11 pm from Monday, divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao said on Sunday.
Rao said for the last three months, the situation in the district was under control. But, now in view of the rise in coronavirus cases, some decisions have been taken.
Restrictions on the movement of people for non-essential activities between 11 pm and 6 am were also imposed from Monday. Rao had said that essential activities like newspaper distribution, milk and vegetable supply, and hospital emergencies have been excluded from the curbs.
"However, establishments like study centres where preparations for civil services examinations are conducted will operate with 50 percent capacity," the official had said.
Rao said that a decision has been taken to implement the cap of 200 people at weddings in "letter and spirit" as violations were seen. According to a Times of India report, no wedding ceremony, political or social event would be allowed without obtaining a no-objection certificate from the police.
There is no restriction on inter-district movement, but the administration expects people to follow "COVID- appropriate behaviour" while travelling, Rao said.
Rao also announced that micro-containment zones will be created in all the hotspots. He said a decision has also been taken to activate COVID-19 care centres at the tehsil level in rural areas and said that testing also needs to be increased.
The official informed that a review will be carried out on Friday and the next strategy will be decided accordingly.
On Monday, Pune city reported a rise of 336 cases.
Amaravati Division: Lockdown imposed till 1 March
Addressing a press briefing on Sunday, Maharashtra minister Yashomati Thakur Sunday announced a one-week lockdown in Amaravati and Achalpur cities and restrictions in other parts of the district as well from 22 February, reported the Times of India.
As per the report, restrictions will be applicable in four other districts in the Amaravati division as well.
The Akola circle " which covers Amaravati, Yavatmal, Buldhana and Washim districts, besides Akola " which has witnessed an upsurge in cases of late, recorded 1,154 new infections on Monday.
Amaravati Divisional Commissioner Piyush Singh told The Indian Express that the municipal areas of Amaravati and Achalpur cities in Amaravati district, Akola, Akot, and Murtizapur in Akola district, and Buldana and Chikhli in Buldana district have been declared containment zones and will be under lockdown from 5 am on 23 February to 5 am on 1 March.
"...during the lockdown period, all shops, except those selling medicine, grocery, milk, and vegetables, will remain closed. These shops will be allowed to operate only between 9 am and 5 pm. Public or private programmes, except marriages, will not be allowed," the Indian Express quotes Singh as saying.
A cap of 25 persons will be imposed on weddings and this will also apply to the parts of the district outside the municipal limits of the containment zone, said the report.
Singh told the newspaper that public transportation will also remain shut between 5 am on 23 February and 5 am on 1 March, and private vehicles have been allowed only for unavoidable journeys. Restaurants inside and outside the containment zones will remain prohibited but home delivery will be allowed
"Offices will remain closed inside the containment zones and will operate with only 15 percent attendance outside them. Religious places will also remain closed within the containment zones. Those outside the containment zones can remain open only between 9 am and 5 pm," The Indian Express report quoted Singh as saying.
According to the report, Singh also said containment zone restrictions will apply in certain areas of Washim and Buldhana which have been demarcated as such while the restrictions meant for non-containment zones will apply outside those areas.
Mumbai: Cops to fine mask-avoiders
Though Mumbai witnessed a drop in daily cases for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, reporting 643 fresh cases, the city was among the first to announce restrictions and fines on those violating COVID-19 rules following a surge last week.
The city has not only hired additional 'Clean-UP' marshals to ensure adherence to COVID-19 rules but also authorised the Mumbai Police to penalise people Rs 200 for not wearing masks in public as mandated under COVID-19 norms.
"Dear Mumbaikars, Mumbai Police is now authorised to issue challans to offenders not wearing a mask too. Every time we fined you for not wearing a helmet or seatbelt it was always to remind you of the value of your life & safety. Same for masks. Please take care. You matter to us," the metropolis' police said in a tweet on Monday.
The BMC on Sunday said that if COVID norms are not practised at social gatherings, due action will be taken against the attendees, organisers, and management.
The civic body had issued a fresh set of guidelines and COVID-19 protocol last week.
An official said that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had collected Rs 31.79 crore between March last year and 19 February this year from 15.71 lakh people who were caught without face masks in public spaces.
Aurangabad division: Night curfew, travel restrictions With cases rising in the neighbouring divisions, several districts in the Aurangabad division announced fresh restrictions on Tuesday, including some announcing restrictions on the movement of people from districts that are seeing a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Amid a rise in COVID-19 cases over the past few days, night curfew was imposed in Aurangabad city between 11 pm and 6 am till 8 March, Police Commissioner Nikhil Gupta said on Tuesday.
Gupta told reporters that the decision was taken after district, civic and police officials held a meeting during the day and pointed out the lack of adherence to COVID-19 precuations.
"A rise in COVID-19 cases is being observed in the city, and the administration has noticed that a lot of people are not complying with outbreak protocols like wearings masks, maintaining social distancing etc. So the decision was taken to impose night curfew from tonight," Gupta said.
The police official added that the industrial sector, medical and emergency services, public transport, etc are exempt from the night curfew.
The caseload in Aurangabad district is inching towards the 50,000 mark with 132 cases recorded on Monday and 201 on Sunday.
The district of Parbhani, which also falls within the Aurangabad division, announced restrictions on inbound travels while closing places of worship to stem the recent spike of COVID-19 cases.
Travel from 11 districts in Vidarbha to Parbhani has been placed under certain restrictions so that the spike in cases in that part of the state does not have an impact here, District Collector Deepak Muglikar told PTI.
"We have told private buses as well as those of MSRTC to not bring passengers from these parts to Parbhani. We have also ordered the closure of places of worship till 28 February," he said.
As per the order issued by the collectorate, the travel restrictions are applicable for people from Nagpur, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola, Washim, Bhandara, Gondia and Wardha, etc, though emergency movement will be permitted.
Meanwhile, the Nanded district administration also part of the Aurangabad division set up two antigen testing posts along the border with Yavatmal in view of rising COVID-19 cases there, officials said on Monday.
Nanded collector Vipin Itankar said the test centres in Hadgaon and Mahur will ensure the rising cases in Yavatmal does not impact his district. He said the move is an experimental one for eight days and each post will have health, revenue and police personnel.
Nanded's COVID-19 case count reached 23,208 with 59 new cases on Monday. So far, 375 people have died and the number of active cases is 375.
In Jalna, educational institutions were ordered to remain shut till 31 March in view of rising COVID-19 cases in the district. The decision was taken after a meeting during the day chaired by district collector Ravindra Binwade, he added.
However, school for classes 11 and 12 will function as usual, the official informed. Permission for social, religious and political gatherings have been withdrawn, he added.
The district recorded 117 cases, including 28 in Jayde Wadi village in Bhokardan tehsil, taking the overall caseload to 14,782. There are 112 cases in the village currently, the official said.
The administration ordered the closure of the famous Shri Rajur Ganpati temple in Bhokardan tehsil as part of measures to contain the spike.
With inputs from PTI