Civic authorities in Mumbai on Friday introduced more measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, making it mandatory for all malls in the city to ensure that visitors carry a negative Rapid Antigen Test report with them, The Mint reported. The new rule will come into effect from 22 March, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said.

Under the new directive, malls will be required to build testing facilities inside their complex. If visitors do not have a negative Covid-19 test report, they will have to get a Rapid Antigen Test done at the entrance. “A team will be designated at the entrance for this very purpose,” the civic body said, adding that the details would be worked out.

The fresh restrictions come days after Maharashtra Chief Minister had issued a warning to restaurant and mall owners against the flouting of precautionary measures. The chief minister had made it clear that the state will be “forced to impose drastic measures” like a lockdown, if people fail to follow rules.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases in the country. While infections dropped for some time in September and October, they have surged again over the last few weeks. At a press briefing on Wednesday, the health ministry had said that 60% of India’s total active cases were concentrated in Maharashtra.

On Thursday, the state registered 25,833 new coronavirus cases – its highest one-day rise in infections since the beginning of the pandemic last year. The state’s previous high was 24,886 cases on September 11. Maharashtra’s overall count went up to 23,96,340. Fifty-eight more deaths pushed its toll to 53,138.

Mumbai registered 2,877 cases in the last 24 hours, taking its overall count to 3,52,835. This was the highest one-day rise in infections in the city, PTI reported. Eight more deaths pushed the city’s toll to 11,555.

Another concerning trend was reported from the city’s slums in Dharavi, which recorded a surge in cases after a gap of six months, reported NDTV. The locality recorded 30 cases in 24 hours on Thursday, the data showed.

The last time Dharavi witnessed such a daily rise was on September 11, when 33 cases were reported. With the addition of the new infections reported on Thursday, the tally in the area has reached 4,328.

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Alarmed by signs that a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is building, several districts in Maharashtra have announced new restrictions on people’s movement and imposed night curfews in some cities. Brief shutdowns have also been imposed in some areas.

While authorities so far have not made any signs of imposing a second complete lockdown in the state, the government has released new guidelines for commercial establishments, social gatherings and travel, according to The Mint.

Here’s a complete list of restrictions and guidelines

  • All cinema halls, hotels, restaurants will follow Covid-related protocols. In case any of these establishments is found violating these rules, they will be shut down for a period until the pandemic stays notified as a disaster by the central government.
  • All offices in the state will operate with 50% of attendance till March 31. 
  • All cinema halls, hotels and restaurants will operate at 50% capacity. They will not allow anyone who is found not wearing a face mask. The staff will also compulsorily provide hand sanitisers and devices to measure body temperature at entry points.
  • All shopping malls, too, will only allow entry to visitors wearing masks. The staff at malls will also be responsible for the actions of theatres and restaurants or any other establishments located inside. Failure to do so will result in the closure of the mall along with penalties.
  • All social, cultural, political and religious gatherings have been banned. Violation of the rule will attract penalties for the owner of the premises, along with the closure of the property in question.
  • For weddings, only 50 guests will be allowed to gather at a time. Also, only 20 persons will be allowed to attend the last rites of a person.
  • At places of worship, the state government has asked the management trusts to decide and declare the maximum number of visitors per hour depending upon the availability of space for movement and physical distancing.