The new restrictions will come into effect from 8 pm today and will remain effective till 7 am on May 1
THE Maharashtra Government on Wednesday imposed several new restrictions including a ban on inter-city and inter-district travel and curbs on office attendance in an attempt to bring the spiralling coronavirus infections under control. The new restrictions under the Government’s ‘Break- he-Chain’ programme will come into effect from Thursday 8 pm and will remain effective till 7 am on May 1. With the State adding over 50,000 coronavirus cases daily over the last two weeks, ministers in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Government had indicated the day before that a new lockdown was imminent. However, Chief Minister Thackeray did not announce the new restrictions himself, unlike last time. The Government notification also did not use the word ‘lockdown’.
As per the notification, Central, State and local governing body offices shall function with 15 per cent attendance. But emergency services dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic will be exempted from this rule. Other offices, allowed to operate as per the existing rules, can function with 15 per cent strength or five people, whichever is more, stated the notification. As to inter-city and inter-district travel ban, exemption will be made for travel for medical emergency, essential services and funeral or medical attendance. As to travel by local trains in Mumbai, the Government had tightened the rules on April 13, saying that only those working in the essential services can travel. Travelling will be allowed with 50 per cent capacity of the vehicle. Passengers of private buses (who are allowed to travel) will have to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days after they reach their destination. Bus operators will have to stamp the passengers’ hands to indicate they are supposed to stay at home for 14 days.
Weddings can take place with 25 persons in attendance in a single hall. The ceremony shall not extend beyond two hours and violation of the rule will attract a fine of Rs 50,000, the notification said. All Government employees -- State, Central and local body -- will be allowed to travel by local trains, metros and public transport buses. Medical professionals and those requiring immediate medical attention and the disabled persons can use public transport services during the period. Disabled persons can be accompanied by another person. The local disaster management authority can obtain information of passengers of long distance trains or buses and stamp them with `home quarantine’ tag. It can also screen passengers using thermal scanners and those with fever or other coronavirus-like symptoms can be shifted to local corona care centres or hospitals.