Maharashtra on Thursday extended the restrictions enforced to control the spread of the coronavirus till June 1.
As per the current rules, only those who provide essential services would be allowed to travel in public transport. Government offices would be allowed to operate at 15% capacity, while attendance at weddings was capped at 25.
The government also announced certain new rules amid the surge in cases across the country. It would now be mandatory for those entering Maharashtra through any mode of transportation to carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 48 hours.
“All restrictions that have been made applicable to persons arriving from places of ‘sensitive origins’ as per orders dated April 18 and May 1 will be applicable to anyone arriving from any part of the country into the State,” the state government said in its order.
The Maharashtra government also directed the Disaster Management Authority to ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour was followed at rural markets and agricultural produce market committees.
“If [the authorities] find any such place as difficult to manage and discipline to ensure non-spread of Covid epidemic, local DMA may decide on a case by case basis to shut these or may impose further restrictions,” the order added.
Local disaster management authorities may decide to impose further restrictions generally or in specific areas, but would have to give a public notice at least 48 hours before enforcing the curbs, the Maharashtra government added.
The order also said that personnel engaged in airport and port services and those required for the movement of medicines and their equipment for Covid management will be allowed to travel in “local, mono[rail] and metro services”.
The Maharashtra government added that the collection, transport and processing of milk may be allowed without restrictions, but its sale will be subject to the restrictions on home delivery and shops selling essential items.
Maharashtra has so far been the state worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak, but was now seeing a fall in the number of infections recorded daily. On Wednesday, the state recorded 46,781 new Covid-19 cases and 816 deaths. Maharashtra’s overall count of infections since the outbreak of the pandemic in January last year rose to 52,26,710, while the toll went up to 78,000.
India is battling a severe second wave of the coronavirus. Hospitals across the country are struggling with acute shortages of oxygen, drugs and medical equipment. Another challenge for the states is the the shortage of vaccine doses. On Wednesday, Maharashtra and Karnataka said they were temporarily suspending vaccination for those in the 18-44 age group. Delhi was also forced to shut down over 100 vaccine centres due to lack of Covaxin doses.