The tough new measures announced by the Maharashtra government for the next 15 days to break the Covid-19 transmission chain came into force on Wednesday night with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directing officials to ensure their strict implementation.
The "lockdown-like" restrictions, which exclude essential services, became operational at 8 pm and will remain in force till 7 am on May 1.
Thackeray, in his address via social media to the people of the state on Tuesday night, had announced the sweeping restrictions, curtailing the movement of people and non-essential activities, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the country's worst-hit state.
Section 144 of CrPC, prohibiting assembly of five or more people at one spot, will be in force during the period, Thackeray had said, but refrained from terming the new curbs as a lockdown.
In a video conference meeting on Wednesday with his cabinet colleagues, divisional commissioners, district collectors, municipal commissioners and police officials, Thackeray stressed on effective implementation of the measures.
There should not be any confusion about the orders issued by the state. If anyone has doubts, the official should contact his or her superiors or the department concerned.
"We can not afford to be callous and let the coronavirus infection spread further, the chief minister said.
Thackeray said efforts are on to make available medical oxygen which is needed in treatment of critical Covid-19 patients.
We have seen a mutation in the coronavirus strain.
It is spreading at a higher speed and affecting the youth in large numbers.
"Efforts are underway on a war footing to make oxygen available for patients. Doctors should get themselves updated about the treatment of Covid-19 patients, he said.