Mumbai: The Maharashtra government went into clampdown mode on Monday, reacting to the detection of a mutated strain of coronavirus in the United Kingdom and announced the imposition of night curfew in 27 municipal corporation limits from 11pm to 6am from December 22 to January 5.
However, the CM had, in his web address to citizens on Sunday, said there was no need for a fresh lockdown and night curfew. He had instead urged people to continue to observe self-discipline as the threat of virus still existed.
But after the fresh diktat, one can be assured that there will be no grand parties or public events on December 31 to usher in the New Year. The government has hinted at action against organisers of such parties in Mumbai and other cities.
There is a difference between a night curfew and a lockdown. While in lockdown, people cannot step out of their homes, in a curfew, more than five people cannot assemble outside.
Additionally, the government has imposed a 14-day institutional quarantine for passengers arriving from Europe and the Gulf. Passengers landing in Mumbai from abroad will have to undergo home quarantine as a precautionary measure.
These decisions were announced after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray chaired a meeting to review the new variant of the Covid virus detected in the UK. ‘‘Due to this new virus of corona, extra precautions are being taken in the state and we must be more vigilant for the next 15 days. The new coronavirus found in the UK is spreading rapidly and the danger of the virus will be known in the next few days, so the state is being put on high alert from today (Monday),” said Thackeray.
He has asked the administration to keep strict vigil on international passengers landing in Mumbai and the rest of the state.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal clarified that the curfew had been imposed to prevent people from meeting in hotels etc. Essential services will not be affected during the curfew period. People travelling at night will not be stopped.
The state government’s announcement comes after the Centre temporarily suspended flights originating from the UK, with effect from December 22 midnight and will continue till December 31.