Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday announced that all the shops and offices in the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nagpur will remain shut from midnight of March 20 till March 31, as a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic, which began in November 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan and later spread globally, claiming the lives of 10,050 people and infecting 246,594 so far.
However, Uddhav Thackeray categorically stated that essential services like ration shops, chemist shops, banks and milk will be available during the shut down.
The Chief Minister, making a stern statement and told the private companies, "If work from home is not possible, shut the offices down." He added that the government offices will be working with only 25 per cent capacity.
Uddhav added that the railway and bus service in Mumbai cannot be stopped as people from low-income groups and and those working in the health and other important sectors travel through these modes of transport.
He added that the next 15 days are extremely crucial in the fight against the pandemic.
Meanwhile, a total of 52 patients have been tested positive for coronavirus in the state, the most for any state in the country. 12 positive cases have been found in Pimpri Chinchwad, 9 in Pune, 11 in Mumbai, 4 in Nagpur, 3 each in Yawatmal, Navi Mumbai and Kalyan, 2 in Ahmednagar, 1 each in Raigad, Thane, Ulhasnagar, Aurangabad and Ratnagiri.
Thackeray said that five of these patients have recovered, however, they will stay in isolation for 14 days.