Stricter COVID-19 curbs come into force in Maharashtra

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Mumbai, Apr 14 (PTI) The tough new measures announced by the Maharashtra government for the next 15 days to break the COVID-19 transmission chain and curb the rising cases came into force on Wednesday night.

The 'lockdown-like' restrictions, which exclude essential services, became operational at 8 pm and will remain in force till 7 am on May 1.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in his address via social media to the people of the state on Tuesday night, had announced the sweeping restrictions, curtailing the movement of people and non-essential activities, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country's worst-hit state.

Section 144 of CrPC, prohibiting assembly of five or more people at one spot, will be in force during the period, Thackeray had said, but refrained from terming the new curbs as a lockdown.

All essential services, including medical stores, hospitals, supply of medicines, among others will remain operational, according to a government notification.

The local transport, including Mumbai's suburban trains, will function only for personnel involved in essential services, it said.

Activities such as the ongoing vaccination drive, oxygen production, home delivery of food, operation of e- commerce firms, work at construction sites with residential facility and industrial units, where accommodation or transportation of personnel is available, will also remain unaffected, the notification said.

All banking and financial services, the RBI and its affiliated offices, insurance offices and pre-monsoon works will operate as usual.

However, there will be a complete ban on religious, social, cultural and political functions in the state till May 1, the notification said.

The number of participants at marriage and funeral has been capped at 25 and 20, respectively.

Barber shops, saloons, spas, schools, colleges, coaching classes, beaches, clubs, swimming pools, gyms, drama theatres and cinema halls will remain shut during the next 15 days, according to the notification.

Though roadside eateries are allowed to operate during the period, buyers can not consume food on the street and only takeaway will be available, it said.

The chief minister had also announced a financial package of Rs 5,476 crore for vulnerable sections of the society to cushion the the adverse impact of the new curbs.