COVID-19 in Maharashtra: Night curfew from March 28; Malls to remain shut from 8 pm to 7 am
COVID-19 in Maharashtra: Night curfew from March 28; Malls to remain shut from 8 pm to 7 am
Twitter/@CMOMaharashtra

Mumbai: Amid the spurt in Covid-19 cases and deaths, the Maharashtra Government on Friday decided to impose a night curfew across the state from March 28. The government will issue a notification on Saturday but sources said night curfew would be from 9pm to 6am. At a video conference, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked for the imposition of night curfew from Sunday and for strict implementation of restrictions and Covid norms.

The CM warned that the government would introduce more stringent curbs if the people failed to observe the Covid safety protocols. Shopping malls would remain closed from 8pm to 7am. He asked the district and civic administration to take action against establishments flouting SOPs.

Thackeray was reviewing the situation in the state in a meeting with divisional commissioners, district collectors, superintendents of police and deans of medical colleges. On Friday, 36,902 new new cases and 112 deaths were reported in the state.

‘NO INTENTION OF IMPOSING LOCKDOWN’

On the prospect of imposing a lockdown in Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray said, “I have no intention of imposing a lockdown, but given the growing number of patients, there is a possibility that the health facilities that we have set up on a large scale across the state will not be enough.” He however, asked the administration not to impose an abrupt lockdown but only after informing people the reasons for the same.

Thackeray said the Maharashtra government had issued guidelines to private establishments about changes in employee attendance as well as office hours. These should be closely monitored to see if rules are being complied with and strict action should be taken and the same applies to crowded places like malls, bars, hotels, cinemas, if SOPs are not implemented.

Further, restrictions on socio-political and cultural programmes had to be observed.

Even though Maharashtra has vaccinated more than 5 million people, Thackeray directed that the programme be implemented more effectively.

Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh urged the Centre to make the Covid vaccines available in large numbers to the state. He also stressed that the vaccination of teachers, professors and those working in the public transport system should be done on a priority basis.

GUIDELINES ON HOLI, GOOD FRIDAY, EASTER CELEBRATIONS

In new guidelines, the state government has urged people to celebrate Holi on March 28 and Rang Panchami the following day in a simple and subdued manner, considering the rise in cases. Further, the government has called upon the people to avoid crowding.

Noting that Konkan region has a tradition of a ‘palkhi’ or palanquin procession on Holi, the state government said this should be confined to temples and asked the local administration to do the needful. “No big religious or cultural programmes should be organised on the day of Holi and Rang Panchami,” the government added.

The state government also urged the Christian community to observe Good Friday (on April 2) and celebrate Easter Sunday (on April 4) in a simple manner in view of the spread of the disease. The government said, if a church is spacious, a maximum of 50 persons could attend service during the holy week from March 28 to April 4. For smaller churches, a special prayer meeting should be held in the presence of 10-25 persons and four to five special masses could be organised depending on the need, it said.

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