- The curfew order doesn’t put restrictions on movement at night but prohibits gathering in public places
- The decision was taken by Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray following an assessment of the prevailing coronavirus situation during a meeting
As fears of a second wave of coronavirus still linger, the Maharashtra government has said that a night curfew would be imposed across the state from 28 March. The order will come into effect in the entire Maharashtra from Sunday night.
The curfew order doesn’t put restrictions on movement at night but prohibits gathering in public places.
Shopping malls will also remain closed from 8 pm to 7 am in Maharashtra in view of the unabated rise in Covid-19 cases, the guidelines said.
At present, shops in Mumbai malls are open till 9.30 pm while food courts run till 11 pm.
The decision was taken by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray following an assessment of the prevailing coronavirus situation during a meeting with state officials.
While the statement in English used the word “curfew”, an official statement in Hindi said the chief minister asked officials to impose section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure under, which gathering of five or more persons is banned, according to a PTI report.
No clarification could be obtained from officials immediately.
Announcing the move, CM Thackeray warned of stricter restrictions if the people did not follow Covid-19 safety protocols.
He said that district chiefs will decide when to order lockdowns but said that there will not be any sudden state-wide lockdown and the public will be given advance notice.
“I do not wish to impose lockdown. But there seems a possibility of healthcare facilities falling short given the rise in the number of coronavirus patients,” Thackeray was quoted as saying in a statement released by his office.
People need to understand that the Covid-19 threat is not over but has grown bigger, the CM added.
Officials should check if private establishments are adhering to guidelines on the attendance of employees and office timing, he further said.
Maharashtra is the number one state in terms of people covered by the vaccination drive, but it should be conducted more effectively, the chief minister said.
Members of the state task force on coronavirus should guide district administrations about the new variants of the virus, the CM said.
He also asked the authorities to increase the availability of ventilators, ICUs and oxygen beds, and ramp up the testing further.
With a fire at a hospital in Mumbai claiming nine lives on Friday, the chief minister also instructed the authorities to check fire safety measures at all temporary hospitals where COVID-19 patients are being treated.
Holi, Good Friday, Easter celebrations guidelines
The Maharashtra people should celebrate Holi on 28 March and Rang Panchami on 29 March in a simple manner considering the spike in Covid-19 cases in the state and crowding should be avoided, the state government ordered.
Saying that the state’s Konkan region has a tradition of carrying a ‘palkhi’ or palanquin in a procession on Holi, the Maharashtra government said this should be confined to temples and asked the local administration to do the needful.
“No big religious or cultural programmes should be organised on the day of Holi and Rang Panchami,” the government said.
The Maha government has also urged the Christian community to observe Good Friday (on 2 April) and celebrate Easter Sunday (on 4 April) in a simple manner in view of the spread of the infection.
The order stated that if a church is spacious, 50 people at the most should attend the prayer meet there during the holy week from 28 March to 4 April.
If the church is smaller in size, then a special prayer meet should be held in the presence of 10 to 25 persons, and four to five special masses may be organised depending on the need, it added.
The government said adherence to strict Covid protocols, including wearing masks, using hand sanitisers, etc, must be observed.
“No religious programme that can attract crowd in any way should be organised. Besides, the procession should not be taken out,” the order read.
Maharashtra Covid update
Maharashtra reported 36,902 Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest one-day rise since the pandemic began. Mumbai also surpassed its record of 5,504 cases from yesterday with 5,513 new infections and nine deaths.
The state also reported 112 Covid-19 deaths on Friday while the case fatality rate (percentage of cases where deaths occur) was 2.04%.
As of Friday, the state had 2,82,451 active cases, the highest in the country.
As many as 52 lakh people have been vaccinated in the state so far as per the officials.