Night curfew in Maharashtra from Sunday; lockdown if health facilities fall short: CM

Taking into account the growing number of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has issued strict directions to tackle the situation, which includes the imposition of night curfew in the entire state, starting from Sunday, 28 March.

In a statement released by his office, the Chief Minister issued orders for night curfew and directed private establishments to alter their working hours and follow guidelines on the number of employees to be present. He also asked officials to ensure strict implementation of the same and to take stern action against malls, bars, hotels, cinema halls and places where crowds gather if these places do not adhere to standard operating procedures. The CM also directed to ensure that malls are closed between 8 pm and 7 am. Restrictions have been placed on social, political or cultural functions to ensure that crowding is avoided.

Thackeray also warned of stricter restrictions in the near future if people do not follow Covid-19 safety rules. He directed district collectors to impose lockdowns wherever necessary but to avoid doing so suddenly or without giving people a reason and advance notice.

The Maharashtra CM also said that he did not wish to impose a sudden state-wide lockdown, but there is a possibility if healthcare facilities prove to be inadequate. “I do not wish to impose lockdown. But there seems a possibility of healthcare facilities falling short given the rise in number of coronavirus patients,” Thackeray was quoted as saying in the statement. In view of this, he added that every district needs to concentrate on increasing infrastructure, beds and medicines. 

Asking officials to implement check-ups for fire safety in temporary hospitals and take stock of drugs and oxygen facilities, and asked to increase the number of ventilators, ICUs and oxygen beds. He also asked officials to increase testing further, stating that testing has already been increased in the state and 50,000 swabs are being collected daily in Mumbai. He also urged the people of the state to understand that the danger is not over, rather on the rise. The CM also hinted at stricter restrictions by pointing out the situation in other countries and comparing the state’s situation to the UK’s.

Further, stating that Maharashtra is ‘number one’ when it comes to Covid vaccinations in the country, the CM also directed to implement vaccination more effectively and asked Task Force members to guide district administration from time to time on the new virus strains and the treatment methodology for the same.

Thackeray also interacted with all the divisional commissioners, district collectors and other senior officials who were present for the meeting held at his official residence, Varsha.

Meanwhile, Minister for Medical Education Amit Deshmukh expressed the need to approach the Centre for making more vaccines available for the state.

He also said that while speeding up the vaccinations, it needs to be ensured that villages are prepared. On the lines of Pune and Mumbai, the number of beds also needs to be increased in all the districts where the number of patients is on the rise, said Deshmukh. He also suggested opening Covid centres for patients who do not have symptoms but need isolation.

He further said that the vaccination of teachers should be completed before schools and colleges reopen, and emphasised on the demand for uninterrupted oxygen supply.


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