COVID-19: M'rashtra gears up for voluntary 'Janata curfew'
As the number of COID-19 cases touched 64 on Saturday, Maharashtra geared for the voluntary 'Janata Curfew' on Sunday on a call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party's Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Congress state President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, besides Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party state chief Chandrakant Patil and other party leaders have called upon people to "remain indoors" to arrest the spread of coronavirus.
With the government imposing a near-total shutdown for Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur since yesterday till March 31, slashed attendance in government offices to 25 per cent, cancelled all school exams from Class I-VIII, the impact was seen on Saturday with crowds on roads reduced by nearly three-fourths, according to Tope.
Earlier, Thackeray and Tope have warned that unless crowds don't recede, they would not hesitate to shut down the city's lifelines -- Mumbai suburban trains, buses and other forms of public transport.
In deference to the PM's call, all shops, establishments, barring essential services, are prepared to shut down on Sunday with other sectors also chipping in.
Mumbai Metro will keep operations closed tomorrow, while Western Railway and Central Railway will operate the bare minimum suburban trains.
The BEST will operate skeletal services, and ditto with autorickshaws and taxis in the commercial capital, said transport labour leader Shashank Rao.
However as per an order, Thane collectorate has banned all autos-taxis from plying in the district tomorrow, besides certain other cities and districts in the state, he added.
The state government issued revised rules for handling asymptomatic low-risk (C Category) air passengers coming from the 19 worst-hit countries China, South Korea, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Iran, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, USA, UK and Australia.
Now, passengers from these countries, who have to undergo compulsory home quarantine, would be permitted further inland travel on domestic flights subject to alast-in, first-out', wearing a mask continuously, a quarantine stamp on their backpalm, and a self-reporting form with stamped permission for the travel, with full in-flight precautions.
The CR has cancelled all trains originating between 4 am to 10 pm on Sunday, all passenger trains between midnight tonight to 10 p.m. tomorrow, Matheran hill-station (Raigad) toy train cancelled and slashed 40 per cent of suburban trains in Mumbai and Pune divisions, with only 1,115 local trains to be operated.
The WR has cancelled all long-distance trains from midnight till 10 p.m. tomorrow, and will operate only 801 local trains, or about 60 per cent of its normal services.
The KR has cancelled 10 long-distance services to south Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka between midnight till 10 p.m. tomorrow, but trains which are already en route will continue to their destinations as usual.
The state government has already announced a ban on most public activities since over a week now, and in view of the voluntary 'Janata Curfew' tomorrow, even casual outings are expected to be reduced to a bare minimum.
Various political parties, social groups, NGOs and others have appealed to people to remain indoors tomorrow, besides campaigns have come up on social media networks with suggestions on how to spend time at home tomorrow, and even during quarantine. IANS