Maharashtra government on Monday announced that night curfew will be in effect across Mumbai and all municipal corporation areas between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am till January 5. The curfew has been announced in view of the new coronavirus strain discovered in the United Kingdom.
The announcement comes days after the emergence of a new and highly transmissible coronavirus strain in the United Kingdom. Several nations, including India, have already announced a temporary ban on all flights from the country.
In addition to the flight ban, passengers arriving in Maharashtra from any other European and Middle Eastern countries have to undergo a 14-day institutional quarantine. Passengers from all other countries have to undergo a 14-day home quarantine, stated the state government on Monday.
The decision to impose a nigh curfew is contradictory to earlier remarks by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. On Sunday, Thackeray had said that his administration was against imposing a night curfew even though experts had recommended it. The CM had also said that wearing face maks would be made mandatory in the state for the next six months.
Maharashtra's new night curfew plan and the flight restrictions are similar to the measures taken earlier in the year to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Nearly nine months into the pandemic, Maharashtra still remains the state with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in India at nearly 19 lakh.
The mutated variant of the virus, which has raised concerns worldwide, was first detected in Southeast England in September. In a couple of months, it became the dominant coronavirus strain in London and other parts of the UK. The mutant strain has led to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the UK and the government has thus imposed the strictest restrictions yet on around 18 million people.