In view of the rising coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, the Uddhav Thackeray-led government has decided to impose restrictions across the state, particularly regions reporting maximum infections. The state has recorded as many as 7,000 cases on Sunday. According to official data, the state recorded 6,971 positive cases in last the 24 hours. While the caseload increased to 21,00,884, the death toll increased to 51,788 with 35 new fatalities. As many as 2,417 patients were discharged, increasing the tally of recoveries to 19,94,947. The number of active cases stands at 52,956.
In a presser late Sunday evening, the chief minister announced a total prohibition on political, religious, and social gatherings in the state from Monday. He said that political agitations will not be allowed for the next few days as they attract crowds.
Night curfews back
Night curfews have been imposed in Pune and Nashik. In Nashik, the restriction will come into effect from Monday 11 pm and will end at 5 am on Tuesday. Only essential services will be allowed during the said period. A fine of Rs 1000 will be levied on those found without masks. Earlier, the charge was Rs 200.
The Pune administration has also announced a night curfew in the city. The night curfew will be imposed from 11 pm to 6 am, during which no public movement will be allowed. Those involved in essential services will, however, be exempted from the restrictions. Schools and colleges in the city will also remain closed till February 28.
"The pandemic is raising its head in the state, but whether it is another wave will be known in eight to 15 days," he said. Further, Uddhav said that imposing a lockdown "may not be the solution to COVID-19" but is the "only option to break the cycle of the virus".
"If the (COVID-19) situation deteriorates, then we will have to impose lockdown. Those who want lockdown can roam around without a mask while those who don't want it must wear a mask and follow all the rules," he said.
Total lockdown in Amravati
The state government has decided to impose a total lockdown in the Amravati district for one week. Earlier, the district administration had announced a weekend lockdown in Amravati, from 8 pm on Saturday to 7 am on Monday. However, now it stands extended. The lockdown will remain in force in the entire Amravati district, excluding Achalpur city. Meanwhile, essential services will be permitted during this period.
Fines, punishment for violating rules
Uddhav said that COVID-appropriate behavior is a must and those violating the rules will be punished. He said a face mask is the only "shield" in the war against coronavirus. "Wear mask, maintain discipline and observe social distancing to avoid a lockdown," he said.
The Mumbai Police said it has been authorized to issue challans to offenders not wearing a mask. "Every time we fined you for not wearing a helmet or seatbelt it was always to remind you the value of your life & safety. Same for masks. Please take care. You matter to us," Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said in a tweet.