Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday announced 15-day curfew in the state and sought central help in airlifting medical oxygen as Covid-19 cases continue to spike in the state, putting a burden on its health infrastructure.
Public transport will continue but travel in suburban trains and buses will be only for people giving essential services. The tightening of curbs comes into effect on Wednesday night.
On Tuesday a record 60,212 cases were reported in the state and the number of active cases has increased to over 500,000.
While the state is getting oxygen by road, Thackeray has requested the Indian Air Force help to airlift supplies. “If we do not break the chain now we will get strangled by the chain,” he said while announcing the new measures.
Last week the state government had closed cinema halls, malls, multiplexes, and places of religious worship. These restrictions will continue. Restaurants and bars will continue to function for takeaway services only.
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deals with unlawful assembly, will continue to remain in force and no one will be allowed to move in a public place without valid reason.
Banks, the stock exchanges, e-commerce, cargo services, etc have been categorised as essential services. Groceries, dairies, vegetable vendors, etc will have staggered operations.
Some non-permanent structures could even be shifted to open spaces.
All manufacturing units producing essential goods will function at full capacity. Export-oriented units can work to meet their obligations. Other industries can function with a 50 per cent capacity. Industries have also been asked to arrange for accommodation for its staff either on the campus or in an isolated facility.
Thackeray announced a relief package of over Rs 5,400 crore consisting of free rations and free meals for the underprivileged and also financial help for labourers, rickshaw drivers, etc.
More than 50,000 cases are being reported every day in the state and this is causing a shortage of hospital beds, medical oxygen, and ventilators.