Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today stopped short of a lockdown but announced tough restrictions for the next 15 days that include a ban on gatherings and only essential activities to tackle Covid infections that he said were “exploding dangerously” in the state. “The war has begun again,” he said, addressing people of the state on the unprecedented surge in Covid infections.
From tomorrow, Section 144, a rule that bans the gathering of more than four people, will be in place across Maharashtra in the mornings and only essential travel and services will be allowed, said Mr Thackeray, urging people to move to Work From Home. From 7 am to 8 pm, only essential services will function; these are medical services, banks, media, E-Commerce and fuel.
Restrictions will continue for hotels and restaurants though home delivery and takeaways will be allowed.
The curbs will be in place till May 1.
“Unfortunately I have to announce more restrictions. Now is the time for action. I am not saying a lockdown just now, but strict restrictions. I know bread and butter is important but saving lives is important,” said the Chief Minister.
Maharashtra recorded 60,212 new cases and 281 COVID-19 deaths today, he declared.
“This is scary.”
Mr Thackeray requested the military’s help in tackling oxygen and medicine shortage in the state.
“Now we have 1,200 MT production of oxygen and we are using it all for medical purposes. We are using it to the hilt. I told PM (Prime Minister Narendra Modi), looking at the condition, that in the coming days we will need Oxygen,” he said.
“We are requesting the PM that instead of bringing oxygen by road, if we can take military’s help and get it via air.”
Mr Thackeray said while the state had postponed board exams, “we can’t postpone the exam we are giving currently and we have to pass this with flying colours.”