The Maharashtra government on Friday ordered all workplaces in major cities, including Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, to remain closed till March 31 because of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. With at least 52 patients so far, one of whom has died, the state is the worst hit in India.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that the shutdown will be applicable in Mumbai, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur. Government offices will operate at 25% strength instead of 50% as was decided recently, he said.
Thackeray added that all shops, apart from those selling essential goods, will also remain shut till the end of March, ANI reported. The chief minister said the state government has ordered complete shutdown in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, except essential services and public transport. “This is not a holiday, avoid crowding,” he said. “Banks will remain open in the state.”
Thackeray said he had received advice to stop trains and buses as well, but he had decided against it for now. “The trains and buses are the city’s lifeline and cannot be stopped,” he said. “[Stopping them] will affect movement of those working in places which provide essential services to the city.”
He said residents had heeded to his request to stay at home and trains and buses were not crowded as usual. Shutting down trains and buses in Mumbai will be the last resort, he said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government announced that all malls in the Capital will be closed, though the grocery and vegetable shops and pharmacies inside them will remain open. The city had already ordered all schools to remain shut till March 31.
Kejriwal met the heads of all government departments and said that all non-essential public dealing was being forbidden till March 31. “All non-essential staff are being directed to work from home,” he said. “All permanent and contractual employees will be paid for this period.”
All three Delhi Haats, which are open-air markets run by the government and are frequented by tourists, will also remain closed, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said. The tourism department’s “Hop on-Hop off” bus service will also be suspended.
The Delhi government has also asked private sector companies to let their employees work from home till March 31.
“All private sector offices [including, multi-national companies, IT firms, industries and corporate offices] situated in NCT [National Capital Territory] of Delhi are advised to allow their officers/employees to work from home till March 31, 2020,” the government said an advisory, according to PTI. The government has also asked senior citizens, pregnant women and people suffering from hypertension and diabetes, to remain at home.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on Friday said it would not operate on Sunday due to the “janata curfew”, a self-imposed people’s curfew called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.
The government has confirmed a total of 206 positive cases so far in the country by Friday. Four of these patients have died – one each in Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka and Delhi.
Other parts of India
In Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Adityanath ordered all malls to be shut down with immediate effect and directed officials to sanitise the cities of Lucknow, Noida and Kanpur. All religious and cultural events have been banned till April 2 and only ten people will be allowed to gather at weddings.
In Bengaluru and Jaipur, officials have decided to shut down metro services on March 22, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a “janata curfew”.