Maharashtra announces stricter curbs for 15 days

Alongside, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a 5,476 crore economic package to help the poor, including daily wagers, rickshaw drivers, domestic helps and construction workers, during this period.

With the imposition of Section 144, people will not be able to travel far from home for non-essential activities. However, essential services have been exempted from the restriction between 7am and 8pm.

Stronger wave

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Stronger wave

Thackeray said that rising cases in the state have now burdened the state’s health systems to such an extent that restrictions to stem the spread of the virus have become necessary.

“We will have to completely stop stepping out of the home unnecessarily. Till now, I used to say, avoid stepping out. I expect you to observe ‘Janta curfew’ and not step out of the home unless absolutely necessary,” Thackeray said in his address.

“We had two laboratories, now it has gone up to 523, but the load on them has increased. We used to test around 85,000 samples daily; now, it has gone up to 250,000. The last time we had 2,665 Covid Care Centers. That has been increased to nearly 4,000. All types of hospital beds, including isolation, oxygenated, ICU, etc., have increased from 325,000 to 350,000. But now these facilities are burdened,” he said, adding that the administration has been instructed to further ramp up the health infrastructure.

There is a shortage of medical oxygen and beds and the demand for Remdesivir, a key covid-19 drug, has increased in Maharashtra, he said, adding the Centre should help supply oxygen for coronavirus patients in the state by using Air Force planes.

Hospitals, diagnostic centres, clinics, vaccinations, medical insurance offices, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, other medical and health services, groceries, vegetable shops, fruit vendors, dairies, bakeries, cold storage and warehousing services, public transport including flights, trains, taxis, autos, and buses, transport services, pre-monsoon work, banks, ATMs, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi)-recognised institutions, agriculture-related activities, petrol pumps, etc., have been classed in the essential category.

Shopping centres, malls, film and serial shootings, beaches and gardens will be shut. Curbs will remain for hotels and restaurants, though home delivery and takeaways will be allowed.

Places of worship will remain closed, and so will barber shops, spas, salons, and beauty parlours.

Shopkeepers and others in essential services will be fined if they do not follow rules, including vaccination.

Public transport will operate with some restrictions. Autos will be allowed to have two passengers. Taxis will be allowed to operate with 50% of vehicle capacity, while public buses will not be allowed to ferry any standing passengers.

E-commerce will be allowed for the delivery of essential goods and services. Milk and newspapers will be allowed to be delivered at home.

PTI contributed to the story.

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