Coronavirus Outbreak: Lockdown in Maharashtra

ST CORRESPONDENT
Monday, 23 March 2020

“The State Transport and private bus services will be suspended completely. The only transport that will continue to operate is the intra-city bus services, which will only ferry staff of essential services,” Uddhav Thackeray said.

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Sunday said Section 144 of CrPC, which prohibits the gathering of over five persons at public places, is being imposed in the State to curb the spread of coronavirus. Further, the government has also extended the ‘janata curfew’ till 5 am on Monday.

Making the announcement, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the measure was being taken in urban areas across the state from Monday to ensure social distancing. He appealed to the citizens to not panic but take care of themselves.

“Attendance in government offices has been slashed to only 5 per cent, only bare essential services and retail outlets like vegetables, groceries, milk, pharmacies and others will be functional. I once again appeal to all to stay at home and don’t step out unless absolutely essential,” Thackeray said in a television statement on Sunday.

“The State Transport and private bus services will be suspended completely. The only transport that will continue to operate is the intra-city bus services, which will only ferry staff of essential services,” he said.

“These are trying times. I know it is being forced upon you, but we have no options. The critical period is till March 31. Thereafter, we will review and decide if it needs to be extended,” Thackeray said.

The total closure of suburban railways will directly affect the commuting population of more than one crore in Mumbai, Raigad, Thane and Palghar, besides the suburban sections serving Pune and surroundings.

The ‘work from home’ practice should be encouraged to avoid the spread of coronavirus, Thackeray said. On Monday, Thackeray and State Health Minister Rajesh Tope have opted to work from home. 

“Several companies and offices will not function, but on humanitarian grounds, these establishments should pay at least the basic salaries of their employees,” he said.

The chief minister held meetings with all authorities through video conferencing.

State Health Minister Tope said that the government may seal the interstate borders to prevent infected people from entering the State.

Transport Minister Anil Parab declared that all MSRTC bus services have been shut. “Interstate bus services have been already stopped. The bus services within the State will be shut from Sunday midnight. The city bus services across the cities have been terminated till March 31. MSRTC buses will be used to carry government and emergency services’ employees up to the borders of the towns and then will travel by city bus services to their offices or hospitals,” said Parab. “All private bus services have been shut till March 31,” said Parab.

One police constable posted at Kasturba Hospital was infected by the coronavirus on Sunday. He has been admitted to Kasturba Hospital. 

TRANSPORT AFFECTED
- Besides the suburban train services on Central Railway, Western Railway, Mumbai Metro, MonoRail, BEST public buses, private buses, autorickshaws, taxis, cab aggregators would be off roads till the month-end.
- State Transport Minister Anil Parab declared that all MSRTC bus services have been shut.

(With inputs from agencies)

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