The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government on Monday decided to impose a night curfew in all municipal corporations in the state from December 22 to January 5. The curfew will be imposed from 11 pm to 6 am. This comes in the wake of a new fast-spreading coronavirus strain which has gone "out of control" in the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to conduct institutional quarantine for all passengers from all over Europe and the Middle East for 14 days after landing at the airport, as well as home quarantine for passengers from other countries.
The Municipal Commissioners have been asked to arrange hotels and independent hospitals for quarantining international passengers. The Chief Minister has also directed them to set up a separate hospital for passengers from Europe if they show symptoms of the new strain.
"From today, 14 days institutional quarantine has been made mandatory for passengers arriving in Maharashtra from all European countries as well as Middle Eastern countries. These passengers will be subjected to RT-PCR testing on the fifth or seventh day after quarantine. They will be released home after completing their quarantine period. The Municipal Commissioners at the airports where international flights land should arrange hotels and independent hospitals for quarantining such passengers. The Chief Minister also directed to set up a separate hospital for passengers from Europe if they have symptoms of the new virus," read a press release from the government.
"Passengers from other countries will be checked and stamped with their hands and will be home quarantined. The Chief Minister also directed to provide PPE kits to all airport staff checking passengers from European countries, Middle East countries," the release added.
Earlier in the day, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation suspended all flights from the UK and vice versa from Wednesday to December 31 in view of the new strain of the virus.
Taking to Twitter, the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Monday afternoon suspended all flights originating from UK to India till the end of 2020. The suspension will remain in effect till 23.59 hours on 31st December 2020.
"This suspension to start w.e.f. 23.59 hours, 22nd December 2020. Consequently flights from India to UK shall stand temporarily suspended during above said period. As a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from UK in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before 22nd Dec at 23.59 hrs) should be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the airports concerned," the MoCA added.
A number of countries like Canada, Turkey, Belgium, Italy and Israel have also banned flights from the UK as the British government warned that the potent new strain of the virus was "out of control".