Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: The Maharashtra government on Wednesday announced a fresh set of SOPs amid the frightening spike in cases and deaths in the state. As per the new rules, government offices will be allowed to function at 15 per cent capacity while the usage of local trains has been restricted. 

As per the new SOPs, marriages will be conducted as a single event in a single hall not extending beyond 2 hours with maximum of total 25 persons attending the same.

Private transport, excluding buses, can ply for emergency or essential services or valid reasons with driver plus 50 per cent of the seating capacity. Furthermore, private buses can ply with 50 per cent of seating capacity with no standing travelers.

Other government and private offices, allowed to operate as per the earlier rules, can function with 15 per cent strength or five people - whichever is more, stated the notification.

As to inter-city and inter-district travel ban, exemption will be made for travel for medical emergency, essential services, funeral or medical attendance, the government said.

The new restrictions under the government's `Break-the-Chain' program will come into effect from Thursday 8 pm and will remain effective till 7 am on May 1, the notification said.

The new SOPs come as the state reported 67,468 fresh coronavirus cases, taking its tally beyond the 40 lakh mark, while 568 more patients succumbed to the infection. The tally of 67,468 infections, the second highest single-day count so far, pushed the COVID-19 caseload of Maharashtra to 40,27,827.

As per reports, the Uddhav Thackeray government is considering the option of imposing a complete lockdown in the state. Health minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday said that the state government favours a "strict lockdown" and Thackeray may make an announcement in this regard on Wednesday. 

Maharashtra has been reporting over 50,000 coronavirus cases every day in the last two weeks but people are still flouting the existing restrictions on movement and gatherings, the ministers said.

"All the cabinet ministers expressed views in favour of a strict lockdown to minimise the spread of COVID-19. Ministers come from all corners of the state, so it also indicates that the entire state needs this measure," Tope said.

Twenty-four COVID-19 patients, with at least 11 of them on ventilator support, suffocated to death on Wednesday when their oxygen supply stopped suddenly because of a malfunction in the main storage at a civic-run hospital in Nashik in Maharashtra.

Three days before the tragedy, the Union health ministry's COVID-19 data compiled between March 16 and April 15 from major cities showed Nashik the worst-hit city in the country in terms of cases per million residents.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta