As the total number of coronavirus cases surges past 50 in the state, Maharashtra government today decided to close all the shops and non-essential offices in major cities till March 31. The partial shutdown will be applicable for Mumbai, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur.
During this period, essential items such as food, milk and medicines will be available. Banks will remain functional. Maharashtra government also decided to bring down the attendance in the government offices to 25% from the present 50% to prevent the spread of the virus.
Uddhav Thackeray today ruled out shutting down public transport in the financial capital of India. "The trains and buses are the city's lifeline and can not be stopped," Maharashtra chief minister added.
Sprawled across the Central Railway and its Harbour Line, plus Western Railway, the suburban trains are the lifeline of Mumbai which ferry over 8.50 million commuters daily serving Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad districts.
Closing down public transport will affect the essential services in the city. The decision to stop public transport will not be considered as of now, Thackeray said.
In the wake of COVID-19 scare, Western Railway on Thursday decided to cancel AC local services in Maharashtra, starting from today. The AC local trains will be replaced by non-AC suburban trains till March 31, said Western Railway PRO.
With 52 COVID-19 patients, Maharashtra has recorded highest number of coronavirus cases in the country. On Tuesday, COVID-19 claimed it's first victim in the state when a 63-year-old man with a history of travel to Dubai, passed away in Mumbai's Kasturba Hospital.
Thackeray urged citizens to avoid non-essential travel. The global war against coronavirus is such that people have to stay at home to live, Thackeray added.
India has so far reported a total of 195 coronavirus cases in the country. Originated in China's Wuhan city, the deadly novel coronavirus killed 10,000 people globally.