The Maharashtra government on Friday imposed stricter restrictions as cases of the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus emerged in the state. The strain has been reported from Ratnagiri, Jalgaon and other districts, according to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s Office.

The new restrictions would be implemented from Monday, according to The Indian Express.

On June 4, the Thackeray-led government had introduced a five-level plan to ease restrictions based on the Covid-19 positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy, with most of the relaxations in the first level, and most restrictions in the fifth level.

“Even if the bed occupancy and positivity rate is within the limits, we don’t want to take a chance due to the Delta plus variant, which is more transmissible,” Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte told The Indian Express on Friday. “So now, level three and above restrictions will be applicable in all districts till the situation improves.”

Level one restrictions were implemented in 15 districts and two municipal corporations till June 20 and level two was in place in four districts and four civic bodies.

What has changed?

  1. Restricted movement after 5 pm on weekdays and weekends. Public spaces for walking, cycling, and open grounds would be open between 5 am and 9 am every day.
  2. Attendance at government offices would be restricted to 50% and all private offices, apart from those in the exemption category, would be allowed to remain open till 4 pm.
  3. Commuting on local trains would be allowed for healthcare, essential workers and women. But the district authority may impose more curbs. Public transport buses would be allowed to ply with 100% seating but without any passenger standing.
  4. Shops and other establishments selling essential items would be open till 4 pm every day. Those dealing with non-essential items would be allowed to operate till 4 pm on weekdays.
  5. Restaurants would be allowed to function with 50% seating capacity for dine-in till 4 pm only on weekdays. After 4 pm, only takeaway service and home delivery would be allowed.
  6. Malls and theatres would be shut, and gyms, salons and other beauty and wellness establishments would be open till 4 pm with 50% capacity with prior appointment and no air-conditioning.
  7. Only on-site construction workers would be allowed to function, or the labourers would have to return to their homes by 4 pm.
  8. Inter-district travel would be regular, except if “moving to, or passing through with any stoppage in level five, wherein passenger e-pass is a must”.
  9. Social, cultural and other gatherings would be allowed with 50% capacity and till 4 pm on weekdays. Weddings can be attended by 50 attendants and funerals by 20. 

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that out of 21 Covid-19 patients with the Delta Plus variant, an 80-year-old with co-morbidities has died, reported ANI on Friday.

As of Friday evening, Maharashtra registered 9,677 new Covid-19 cases, taking the state’s infection tally since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 60,17,035. With 156 deaths, the toll climbed to 1,20,370.