The Maharashtra government has made the Covid-19 curbs more stringent with partial shutting of government offices, scaling down on public transport, closing of shops and restaurants as the state battles possible local transmission of the coronavirus outbreak or entry into stage III.
Registration of automobiles has got harder in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad with the government now halting licencing and registration at the Regional Transport Office to avoid the crowding that takes place at these offices. No new driving licenses are going to be issued till March 31, 2020. Vehicle registrations will have to be done at dealerships. Issue of Aadhaar cards has been suspended. Two more cases of Covid-19 were reported in Mumbai and Pune on Tuesday with travel history to the US and Dubai. This takes the total in Maharashtra to 41 which is now the epicentre of the outbreak in India.
Making these announcements, Deepak Mhaisekar, Pune divisional commissioner, has warned strict action against violation of any of the government directions and advisories. He also warned patients and suspected cases that if they do not isolate or home quarantine, the authorities will enforce institutional quarantine on them as they could put the entire community at risk. As per new protocol, all passengers returning to India will be put in compulsory institutional quarantine for 24 hours and will be asked to home quarantine or sent for institutional quarantine after their check-up. He also warned against sub-standard santisers entering the market and warned of criminal action against such offenders with the first of these cases being registered in Pune. Around 250 more beds have been added at the institutional quarantine facility to take the total to 770 beds. The administration has carried out surveys in 26,350 houses and screened 1,17,336 people as part of the contact tracing procedures.
Pune Restaurant & Hoteliers Association president Ganesh Shetty said that after a meeting with the Pune police commissioner, they decided to close all restaurants, bars for business from Wednesday, March 18 till Friday, March 20 initially to prevent further spread of the Covid-19. Around 35,000 retail outlets too are shut for three days in the Pune region, barring grocery and milk shops. Chicken shops have been shut for three days.
Central Railway has cancelled 23 trains, including the Deccan Express and Pragati Express between Mumbai and Pune to contain the spread and also due to non-occupancy.