Maharashtra: Curfew for 15 days from April 14; essential services exempted

Section 144 (prohibitory orders) of the Criminal Procedure Code will be in force till the
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said additional restrictions will be imposed for 15 days across the state from Wednesday evening in order to curb the coronavirus surge. 

Section 144 (prohibitory orders) of the Criminal Procedure Code will be in force till the "lockdown-like" restrictions are in place, Thackeray said.

"We are imposing strict restrictions which will come into effect om 8 pm tomorrow. Section 144 will be imposed in the entire state from tomorrow. I will not term this as lockdown," he said. The restrictions will be imposed till 7 am on May 1.

However, Mumbai suburban trains and city buses will continue to run, but commutes will be permitted for those in the designated 'essential services', he added. Services and activities mentioned in 'essential category' are exempted and their movements and operations will continue unrestricted.

Industries that can pick up and drop workers can continue to operate, state the guidelines. No religious, social, cultural or political function of any kind will be allowed in the state till May 1. e-Commerce will be only allowed for the delivery of essential goods and services till May 1 in Maharashtra.

"From tomorrow 8 pm, Section 144 will be imposed across Maharashtra.. From 7 am-8 pm only essential services shall remain open. This is imperative to break the chain of the virus. Saving lives is our topmost priority," Thackeray said in an address to the state late Tuesday evening.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and services designated by RBI will be treated as essential. All offices of SEBI recognised market infrastructure institutions such as stock exchanges, depositories, clearing corporations etc. and other intermediaries registered with SEBI will also be allowed to operate. 

"All essential industries to function at full capacity. All establishments, public places will remain closed, except essentials. Public transport will continue to function only for essential workers and in emergency and for essential activities for general public," announced Thackeray.

We are allowing road side vendors to function 7am to 8pm, but no-one will be allowed to eat there. They will have to give as takeaway, he said. 

Maharashtra COVID19 guidelines: All establishments, public places, activities to remain closed. Essential services exempted, their operations to be unrestricted.

Restrictions to be in effect from 8pm, 14th April till 7am, 1st May

— ANI (@ANI) April 13, 2021
In his Facebook Live address to the state, Thackeray said the state's health infrastructure has been under tremendous pressure. 

"The war against coronavirus has begun once again," he said. There is a severe strain on Maharashtra's health infrastructure due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, he added.

"Today we have 523 laboratories in the state. Still it takes time to get test reports. There has been burden on labs. we are testing 2.25 lakh people every day. We have increased beds, which are over 3.5 lakh, but there's tremendous pressure on health infrastructure," he said. 

There is a shortage of medical oxygen and beds and the demand for Remdesivir has increased in Maharashtra, he said, adding the Centre should help supply oxygen for coronavirus patients in the state by using Air Force planes.

"There is a shortage of medical oxygen, beds and the demand for Remdesivir has also increased. Demand is high for Remdesivir and we need two to three weeks for production. Government will procure from all possible sources," he further said. 

The state government will provide three kg wheat and two kg rice free for the next one month to every poor and needy person while the coronavirus-induced restrictions are in place, Thackeray said.

"How long will be keep discussing Covid situation," Thackeray said while referring to the series of meetings he has been having in the run up to the lockdown. 

"We cannot afford to get oxygen from other states that are over 1,000 km away by road. I am going to request PM to provide oxygen using airways. Air Force has to be roped in for this," he said. 

Thackerary said the time period for GST returns filing should be increased by two to three months amid the existing crisis.

He urged the newly graduated medical students to join fight against the virus and appealed to the retired doctors and nurses to help. 

The state has been witnessing an unrelenting spike, reporting more than 50,000 cases a day for the past few days. The daily infection count went as high as over 63,000.

The state reported 60,212 fresh coronavirus positive cases, taking the tally to 35,19,208 while 281 fatalities pushed the toll to 58,526, the state health department said.

Maharashtra is now left with 5,93,042 active cases,the department said in a release. Mumbai recorded 7,873 new cases and 27 fatalities, taking the tally to 5,35,264 and the toll to 12,093. A total of 31,624 patients were discharged during theday in Maharashtra, taking the count of recoveries to28,66,097, it said.

With 2,37,658 new tests, the number of samples testedso far in Maharashtra has gone up to 2,25,60,051, thedepartment added.

Currently, 32,94,398 people are in home quarantinewhile 30,399 people are in institutional quarantine in the state.

Maharashtra's case recovery rate is 81.44 per cent andthe fatality rate is 1.66 per cent, the department said.

Pune division saw 12,372 fresh infections including5,214 in Pune city.

Thackeray on Sunday held a meeting with the coronavirus task force to assess the situation in the state. Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Directorate of Medical Education and Research Dr TP Lahane, Task force chief Dr Sanjay Oak and others attended the meeting via video conferencing.

After meeting all-party leaders last week, Thackeray urged the party leaders and opposition to support whatever decision his government takes with public interest in mind. "The first priority will be given to saving lives. If this is a public health emergency, then the priority will be health of citizens and their lives," he said.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Minister Aslam Sheikh said celebrities who are asymptomatic should take treatment at home and not occupy beds in the hospital

"Celebrities who are asymptomatic should take treatment at home, not occupy beds in the hospital. Some celebrities like Akshay Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar did not need to get admitted to the hospital. Beds should be left for the needy," said Sheikh.

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