Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi on Friday announced the closure of public spaces, schools and other non-essential establishments, and announced measures to regulate overcrowding in hospitals, as the state confronts an escalating coronavirus crisis, PTI reported. Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country so far, with 52 people testing positive for the virus.

Making preparations for health contingencies arising from the pandemic, the municipal corporation chief issued orders to impose traffic restrictions and restrict vehicular movement around Mumbai’s three quarantine centres – the Kasturba Hospital, KEM Hospital and the Seven Hills Hospital.

In order to reduce congestion in major hospitals, all patients whose condition is stable and who are not in need of tertiary care, will either be discharged or shifted to other peripheral hospitals. All patients admitted for elective surgery shall be discharged, the order added. Elective surgeries are procedures that are scheduled in advance as they do not involve an emergency.

Hospital authorities have also been directed to ensure that a distance of one metre is maintained between all hospital beds. No sharing of beds will be permitted, the commissioner’s order said.

All schools, as well as public spaces such as cinema halls, malls, gyms, swimming pools, pubs and amusement parks have been shut down indefinitely. The corporation has also banned public functions and gatherings.

The commissioner said that only those restaurants and eateries that self-impose a 50% customer capacity cap will be allowed to be open. They are also expected to maintain a 3-feet distance between two customers, the order added.

Meanwhile, all private and corporate establishments are to be shut down. However, shops and firms that provide essential services such as drinking water, electricity, banking, sewerage, healthcare, media, port, telecom, vendors of food, groceries and vegetables, petrol pumps, Information Technology services, data centres, e-commerce, among others have been exempted from the closure order.

On Thursday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had announced that shops located in several localities of Mumbai will remain shut on alternate days indefinitely in order to regulate crowds on roads. However, grocery and medical stores were exempted from the order.

The Maharashtra government on Monday started marking all those who have been asked to self-isolate themselves for 14 days over COVID-19 with a stamp in indelible ink, which says “home quarantine”. Those who have history of foreign travel, or contact with those with a history of foreign travel but have no symptoms of the virus have been advised home quarantine.

The government ordered private offices to operate at below 50% of the total attendance and allow the rest to work from home. The state also postponed all university and school examinations, except Class 10 and Class 12, until further notice. All scheduled elections have also been deferred for the next three months.