New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday ruled out a complete lockdown in the state but announced a 15-day 'Janta Curfew' in the state from 8 pm on Wednesday during which only essential services will be allowed. The new restricitions will remain into effect till 7 am on May 1.

While refraining from terming the new curbs as a lockdown, Thackeray said that all non-essential establishments and public places will remain closed and only essential services will be allowed from 7 am to 8 pm.  

Section 144 banning large gatherings will be imposed across the state from Wednesday. Thackeray also warned people to not step out of houses, unless neccessary, as he said that COVID-19 cases were "exploding dangerously" across the state. 

"We are not shutting down public transport, but they will used only for essential workers and in emergency and essential activities for general public," he said. 

Thackeray also said that usage of local trains and bus services will only be allowed only to those involved in carrying out essential services. Restaurants in the state will remain closed for the next 15 days and only home delivery of food will be allowed during this period. 

The chief minister also announced closure of cinema halls, threatres, gyms, shopping malls, markets and shopping centres till 7 am on May 1. 

"Cinema halls, theatres, auditoriums, amusement parks, gyms, sports complexes to be closed. Shooting for films, serial,ads to be closed. All shops, malls,shopping centres not performing essential services to also remain closed from 8pm, 14th Apr till 7am, 1st May," he said.

"All places of worship, schools and colleges, private coaching classes, barber shops, spas, salons and beauty parlous will remain closed from tomorrow till 7am on 1st May," Thackeray added. 

Thackeray also said that E-commerce services will only be allowed for the delivery of essential goods and services.

Earlier, it was reported that the Maharashtra government may announce a complete 15-day lockdown in the state to contain the spread of the virus. However, state minister Aslam Shaikh said the government will come up with fresh restrictions to curb the coronavirus spread. 

There is a shortage of medical oxygen and beds and the demand for Remdesivir has increased in Maharashtra, he said, adding the Centre should help supply oxygen for coronavirus patients in the state by using Air Force planes.

"The war against coronavirus has begun once again," he said. There is a severe strain on Maharashtra's health infrastructure due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, he added.

The state government will provide 3 kg wheat and 2 kg rice free for the next one month to every poor and needy person while the coronavirus-induced restrictions are in place, Thackeray said.

The announcement comes on a day the state again clocked over 60,000 fresh infections in a span of 24 hours, a day after reporting a dip in cases and deaths. In the same time span on Monday, the state had reported 51,751 new cases and 258 deaths while on Sunday, it saw its biggest-ever single-day spike of 63,294 new cases and 349 fatalities.  

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta