Maharashtra faces worst public-health crisis

With the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases touching 45 in Maharashtra, the highest in India where 170 people have been affected so far, the state's anti-coronavirus battle became even fiercer on Thursday with more testing and quarantine facilities coming up.

Besides, all-out efforts are being made to keep the crowds at bay in public areas and workplaces.

The number of cases shot up from 41 to 45 on Wednesday with fresh cases in Mumbai, Pune and Ratnagiri.

The coronavirus claimed its first victim in Mumbai on Tuesday.

A 63-year-old man, who had travelled to Dubai with his wife and son, died at the Kasturba Hospital due to complications arising from the infection.

It took the total number of deaths from the coronavirus in India to three.

Mr Pravin Pardeshi, the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), ordered the closure of all shops and business establishments on alternate days to reduce crowds on the roads as the state faces one of its worst public-health crises in recent history.

Mumbai and Pune, the worst-hit cities in the state, are seeing fewer commuters in trains and buses.

All beaches in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg are near-deserted, as are the prominent hill stations in the Western Ghats, resorts, wildlife sanctuaries and tourist destinations.

All major places of worship, such as temples, churches, mosques, mausoleums and gurdwaras, have shut their doors to devotees, while some religious organisations and sects are offering online prayers.

Maharashtra, India's most industrialised and urbanised state, has already effected the partial shutdown of all schools, colleges, malls, theatres, cinemas, gyms and swimming pools till March 31.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reviewed the situation on Wednesday with all the concerned departments and said that a limit of 50 per cent staff will be implemented in all government departments.

He said the number of suburban trains and buses will be reduced, standing passengers won't be permitted and those seated would be kept at a safe distance.

Mr Thackeray urged the restive people of Mumbai, India's financial capital with 17 million people, not to panic or stock up essentials as there is sufficient availability of essentials, including medical items.

However, he said the government plans to implement shift hours for retail shops and markets in different urban localities.

Indo-Asian News Service


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