Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said that healthcare professionals, sanitation workers and the police – who are at the forefront of the fight against the deadly coronavirus – will be prioritised during disbursal of salaries, reported News18. The chief minister also reiterated that his administration will not cut salaries of government employees, adding that it will be paid in instalments to keep the state’s financial situation in control.

“The police, health workers and sanitation workers will be given a priority in the disbursement of salaries,” Thackeray said in his address on social media. “Due to the coronavirus crisis, an economic crisis is expected. To ensure that things do not go out of hand, salaries will be paid in installments.”

Earlier in the day, the Maharashtra government had announced that its employees will get their salaries for March in two instalments as the state braced for economic repercussions of the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Elected representatives, such as the chief minister, Cabinet ministers and MLAs, will be paid only 40% of their salaries in March, and the rest at a later date “when the situation improves”, the government said.

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Class A and B government employees, ranging from the rank of secretaries to desk officers, will get only 50% of their salaries for March and the rest later. Clerical staff in Class C will get 75% of their remunerations this month, while Class D employees, such as peons and office assistants, will get their full salaries, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had said.

In his video address, Thackeray said the number of Covid-19 patients in the state had risen sharply because more people were being tested. The total number of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra has gone up to 302, according to the Union health ministry’s latest update.

Meanwhile, the chief minister urged private doctors to keep their clinics open. “Many private doctors have closed their clinics, he said, according to The Indian Express. “I request them to open their clinics, take all required care and treat patients.... Patients suffering from cough, cold and fever symptoms should be referred to government hospitals for treatment.”