The rise in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra has become a point of concern for the state government. Yesterday, the state reported its highest single-day rise of COVID-19 cases at 57,074 positive cases that emerged in the past 24 hours. Additionally, the daily fatalities also climbed to 222 in the central state. With the addition of new infections, the overall caseload in Maharashtra has reached 30,10,597, and the state has reported 55,878 deaths due to coronavirus so far.
Currently, the active case count of COVID-19 infection in Maharashtra has surged to 4,30,503, whereas the count of recoveries rose to 25,22,823 as of April 4. Maharashtra is the worst-affected COVID-19 state in the country, accounting for 58.19 per cent of active cases in the country.
Amid the unabated rise in caseload in Maharashtra, the state government has announced a weekend lockdown and night curfew during the weekdays from Monday (April 5) to April 30. In addition to this, the state government has also taken several stringent measures like the closure of private offices, theatres, and salons to curb the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases.
As per the statement from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO), the weekend lockdown will start from 8 pm on Fridays and last till 7 am on Mondays. Besides, prohibitory orders will be in force during the daytime on weekdays. Moreover, shops, markets and shopping malls will be closed till April 30, excluding the essential services shops, medical shops, and grocery shops. Only take-away and parcel services will be available from restaurants and bars. Road-side eateries will also be allowed to be open only for take-away and parcel service.
All private offices, except in banking, stock market, insurance, pharma, telecommunication and mediclaim sectors, will be shut as part of these restrictions. Maharashtra government has also made work from home mandatory for private offices, except those in local disaster management, electricity, and water supply.
Government offices, except those departments involved in COVID-19 management, will function at 50 per cent of their capacity. Official meetings will be held online, and visitors will be barred from entering government offices, the CMO said in a statement.
Section 144 of the CrPC will be in place in the state from 7 am to 8 pm to prohibit the gathering of more than five persons at one place during the daytime. Night curfew will be in place from 8 pm to 7 am. But medical and essential services have been exempted from the night curfew.
Gardens, beaches, theatres, cinema halls, swimming pools, sports complexes, and all public places will be closed from 8 pm to 7 am. Schools, colleges, and private coaching classes will also be closed. However, exams for Classes 10 and 12 will take place as announced earlier.
While places of worship will also be closed for devotees, religious rituals there will continue. Priests and staff at religious places should get themselves vaccinated immediately, the CM said in an order. E-commerce services will continue from 7 am to 8 pm .
All these new restrictions will come into effect from Monday 8 pm and will be called 'Break the Chain' instead of 'Mission Begin Again', a campaign that was launched by the state government for the phase-wise reopening of lockdown last year.