In the wake of Section 144 imposed in the state till March 31 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the state highway police are conducting rigorous checking of all the vehicles passing through the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Vijay Patil, Superintendent of Police, Maharashtra Highway Police said, "Vehicles ferrying essential services and employees are being allowed to ply, however, those carrying normal passengers who want to leave city are being stopped."
Panic struck the citizens when social media went abuzz with rumours like Mumbai-Pune Expressway has been shut. Clearing the air on the same, Maharashtra Highway Police SP Vijay Patil said, it is not shut but it is under heavy deployment if officials who are checking every vehicle. "Barring essential services like food, milk, water hospitals, fire, prisons, banks, and media, we are stopping the vehicles. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway is not shut, but limited to these movements only," added Patil.
Police said, many private buses and cars carrying passengers who want to leave the city and return to their home town are being stopped. "They should understand that they could be carriers who are taking the virus to another city and could pose a threat to a larger public by traveling in such transports. Instead they should stay put at home and do their bid in containing the situation," said a senior police officer requesting confidentiality.
The state highway police on Friday had been conducting manual checks on the Mumbai-Pune expressway to stop commuters with the home quarantine seal on hands from travelling. The decision was taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection after several citizens with a travel history to the virus-affected countries, who have been asked to follow home quarantine for 14 days, have been flouting the rule and travelling on trains or buses and even taking part in social engagements.
Maharashtra has become the epicentre of coronavirus in India as the state reports 89 cases and three people succumbed to the virus. In India, about 415 people have tested positive for the deadly virus and seven people have succumbed to it.