In light of an alarming new strain of COVID emerging in the UK and end-of-year festivities, the Maharashtra government will impose a night curfew for the next 15 days, between 11 pm and 6 am from December 21 to January 5. Travellers from Europe and the Middle East will remain under institutional quarantine for 14 days; returnees from some other countries will be strictly home-quarantined.
On Sunday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had addressed the state and announced that wearing masks would be mandatory for the next six months. He had organised a meeting on measures to be imposed with chief secretary Sanjay Kumar and other officials. After this, a decision to impose night curfew in city limits was announced. Thackeray stated, “The new strain of COVID-19 is spreading fast. It is likely to be more dangerous. This will become clear over the next few days. We have decided to take precautions in the state starting from Monday onwards.”
Orders were also issued for stringent check-ups of international travellers. Those incoming from Europe and the Middle East will undergo an RT-PCR test on the seventh day of institutional quarantine, and can go home only after completing it. All municipal commissioners have been asked to make arrangements for quarantine near airports, and for separate hospitals for Europe returnees showing viral symptoms.
A meeting is likely to be held with all collectors and municipal commissioners over the next few days.
Small-scale industries rued that the night curfew will hamper business again. Abhay Bhor, president of the Forum for Small Scale Industries Association, said, “The state has not given enough clarity on night curfew. Workers travel and transport vehicles ply in the night. We have already faced huge losses in the lockdown. We hope the government issues clearer guidelines for industries.”