Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a partial lockdown with strict boundaries for the next 15 days that include a ban on gatherings and only essential activities to tackle Covid infections that he said were “exploding dangerously” in the state.
He said that the “The war has begun again,” addressing people of the state on the extraordinary surge in Covid infections. From today, Section 144, a rule that bans the get-together of more than four people, will be in place across Maharashtra in the mornings and only essential travel and services will be allowed.
CM Thackeray advised people to move to Work from Home. From 7 am to 8 pm, only essential services will function; these are medical services, banks, media, E-Commerce and fuel. Explaining that his government was being tested by the crisis, Thackeray said while the state had postponed the Class 10 and 12 state board exams, “we can’t postpone the exam we are facing currently and it is one we have to pass with flying colours.”
Home deliveries from restaurants will be allowed. Also, home deliveries of essential items will be allowed. food takeaway will be allowed at roadside stalls, including fruit vendors. However, one cannot stand and eat there.
During the partial lockdown, maids, cooks, drivers, house help, nurses, and medical attendee who are taking care of old patients will be allowed between 7 am to 10 pm on all days.
All clinics including dentists, eye hospitals and general physicians, optical shops will be allowed to function within the given time frame.
Thackeray, in an address on Tuesday evening, also announced a package of Rs 5,476 crore to help the marginalised, including daily wagers, rickshaw drivers, domestic help, and construction workers.
The impact of that lockdown — a 24.4% contraction in the economy in the first quarter which bore the brunt, and untold suffering for migrant workers left without food, shelter, and a safe way to return home — may have prevented Thackeray from announcing even a partial lockdown in the face of a second wave that has overwhelmed Maharashtra’s health infrastructure, even though experts have been calling for stronger restrictions for weeks.