On anticipated lines, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday announced ‘lockdown’ style restrictions starting 8 p.m. on April 14, till April 30, to break the chain of the coronavirus which has gripped the state.

However, Mumbai suburban trains and city buses will continue to run, but commutes will be permitted for those in the designated ‘essential services’, he said.

“From tomorrow 8 pm, Section 144 will be imposed across Maharashtra.. From 7 a.m.-8 p.m. 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 this evening.

Even as Thackeray spoke, the state’s daily Covid tally touched a whopping 60,212 new infections, taking the tally above the 35 lakh mark to 35,19,208, besides 281 deaths taking the toll to 58,526 – the highest in the country.

Referring to the shortages experienced by the state, Thackeray said he would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Indian Air Force to transport oxygen from other states as road transportation could lead to delays.

Presently, the state produces around 1,200 tonnes of oxygen of which nearly 950-1000 tonnes is utilised daily, but as the cases continue to spike, the demand has increased, besides the need for more Remdevisir medicine and other Covid-treatment related requirements.

Vaccination – in which the state tops the nation – would have to be further scaled up and he requested all parties not to politicise these issues in the public interest.

Under the new regime, all non-essential services and travel shall be prohibited totally with the clamping of prohibitory orders, all film shootings banned, all places of worship will remain shut, marriages will be allowed with only 25 guests and funerals with the earlier norm of 20 mourners.

All restaurants, bars, streetfood sellers, except those in-house on premises of hotels and other designated locations, will remain closed, though home delivery shall be permitted.

Food markets and retail outlets shall be allowed with staggered working hours, while clubs, gyms, amusement/water parks, swimming pools, beaches, gardens, and other public places, salons, barbershops, etc. shall be closed for public.

Autorickshaws and taxis can ply with driver plus only two passengers, private vehicles shall be allowed for only emergency/essential purposes, while all manufacturing, trade, banking, commercial, ecommerce, marketing and related activities shall continue, all state/Central government and essential private offices including law firms, shall work but with only 50 per cent capacity.

In all categories, the government has mandated adherence to strict Covid Appropriate Behaviour and violators would be slapped with hefty fines/penalties and termination of their services till the end of the Centre’s pandemic orders.

–IANS

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