Though many Maharashtra residents felt the need of a lockdown, experts believed that another shutdown could adversely impact the economy.
As fears of a second wave of coronavirus continue to loom over Maharashtra, the government has said that a night curfew would be imposed across the state starting from March 28 (Sunday). This decision was taken after the state recorded 35,952 coronavirus infections on Thursday, the highest one-day rise since the pandemic began. The state added over one lakh cases in four days.
Though the citizens of Maharashtra were on board with the imposition of a lockdown and found it feasible in containing the virus spread, the Uddhav government continued to urge people to follow Covid norms as experts believed that shutdown could adversely affect the economy. A central government team too was of the opinion that focus should be on intensifying disease surveillance by effective testing and tracing to identify cases, and scaling up of vaccination.
All you need to know about the curfew
Shopping malls to remain closed from 8 pm to 7 am in Maharashtra in view of the unabated rise in Covid-19 cases. Malls, tourist places which draw huge crowds, to also shut by 8 pm, the CM told the administration.
The curfew order does not put restrictions on movement at night but prohibits the gathering of more than 4 to 5 people in public places.
In the far northern suburbs, local authorities have imposed tighter restrictions ranging from banning the gathering of more than 4 people, shutting non-essential shops, restaurants on weekends to curbs on shops timings and even banning weddings.
The Maharashtra chief minister has said to ensure that there are no restrictions on socio-political and cultural programs
Private establishments have also been provided guidelines regarding changes in attendance of their employees as well as office hours
CM has also asked the authorities to increase the availability of ventilators, ICUs and oxygen beds, and ramp up the testing further.
Members of the state task force on coronavirus have been instructed to guide district administrations about the new variants of the virus
The district chiefs have also been given full autonomy to decide when to order lockdowns but there will not be any sudden state-wide lockdown and the public will be given a prior notice.
With a fire at a hospital in Mumbai claiming nine lives on Friday, the chief minister has also instructed the authorities to check fire safety measures at all temporary hospitals where COVID-19 patients are being treated.
Although the state is number one in the country in terms of immunization programs, Uddhav Thackeray said that the program has to be implemented more effectively.
The people of the state have been instructed to celebrate Holi on March 28 and Rang Panchami on March 29 in a simple manner considering the surge in Covid cases and to avoid crowding. No big religious or cultural programmes should be organised on the day of Holi and Rang Panchami,” the government added.
The state government also urged the Christian community to observe Good Friday (on April 2) and celebrate Easter Sunday (on April 4) in a simple manner allowing maximum of 50 persons to attend the prayer meet during the holy week from March 28 to April 4 if the church is spacious and 10-25 people incase of a smaller church.
Besides, the government has also advised people to strictly abide by the covid safety norms like wearing a mask at all times and use of sanitizer, etc.
Maharashtra reported 36,902 Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest one-day rise since the pandemic began. The state also reported 112 Covid-19 deaths on Friday while the case fatality rate was 2.04%. As of Friday, the state had 2,82,451 active cases, the highest in the country.