Amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, authorities in Pune on Friday imposed night curfew and tightened restrictions in the district to rein in the pandemic, reported ANI.
“A 12-hour night curfew from 6 pm to 6 am in Pune from tomorrow, 3rd April,” said Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao. “Situation will be reviewed on next Friday.”
Rao said that restaurants, bars, malls and religious places will remain closed for the next seven days. Only home deliveries of food, medicines and other essential services will be allowed during this period.
He added that no public functions, except weddings and funeral, will be permitted. The number of guests for weddings is limited to 50, while only 20 people are allowed for a funeral.
Public transport bus services will only be available for essential workers, reported The Indian Express. Organisations that need staff to travel can hire buses from the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited, the city’s public bus service provider.
The decision to impose curbs came a day after Pune reported 8,025 new infections and 18 deaths.
“We have collectively decided to take some measures keeping in mind the goal of causing minimal hassle to citizens, but those that will help us slow down the spread of the virus,” Rao said after a review meeting led by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. “A golden mean was settled upon.”
At the meeting, almost all elected representatives, including MPs Amol Kolhe, Shrirang Barne, Vandana Chavan, Girish Bapat and Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol opposed the idea of a complete lockdown. They suggested that strict curbs can be imposed and effectively implemented by the police. On March 26, Pawar had warned of imposing a “strict lockdown” if the situation did not improve.
At Friday’s meeting, the deputy chief minister said that he was against imposing a lockdown but the situation was getting serious. He said that it might be close to impossible to find a hospital bed in a few days.
Rao pointed out that Pune was facing a shortage in oxygen supply as the number of Covid-19 cases was increasing in neighbouring districts such as Satara, Sangli and Solapur. He added that the district administration has taken steps to meet the shortfall.
To address the concerns about the availability of beds, the Pune mayor has also directed private hospitals to keep 80% of their beds available for coronavirus patients, reported NDTV.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will address the state at 8.30 pm on Friday, said Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar. The state is one of the worst-hit in a new surge of cases in India. Last week, a night curfew and new curbs were imposed in Mumbai. Authorities have warned that harsher measures could be implemented to contain the disease in the coming days.