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Maha govt imposes new lockdown-like restrictions

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday imposed several new restrictions including a ban on inter-city and inter-district travel and curbs on office attendance in an attempt to bring the spiralling coronavirus infections under control.

Central, state and local governing body offices shall function with 15 per cent attendance. But emergency services dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic will be exempted from this rule.

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.

Contrary to expectation, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray did not announce the new restrictions himself, unlike last time. The government notification also did not use the world `lockdown’.

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.

Travelling will be allowed with 50 per cent capacity of the vehicle.

Passengers travelling by private buses will have to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days after they reach their destination. Bus operators will have to stamp the passengers’ hands to indicate they are supposed to stay at home for 14 days.

Weddings can take place with 25 persons in attendance in a single hall. The ceremony shall not extend beyond two hours and violation of the rule will attract a fine of Rs 50,000, the notification said.

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