COVID-19: Mumbai to work on 50% capacity, says Uddhav

COVID-19: Mumbai to work on 50% capacity, says Uddhav Thackeray

 Maharashtra Chief Minster Uddhav Thackeray addresses media at Varsha Bunglow, in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)

 In what appears to be a partial lockdown, India's commercial capital of Mumbai will work on a 50 per cent capacity form Thursday because of the threat of the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Mumbai and the larger Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR) is one of the most crowded cities in the world. 

After a detailed review, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that the state government will function with 50 per cent staff strength, with employees reporting every alternate day. 

Similarly, instructions have been issued to Central Railway and Western Railway, Mumbai Metro and government and private buses will work on 50 per cent passenger load. 

The measures would be in force till 31 March.

"To control COVID-19, we would have to reduce the crowd," Thackeray said in a press statement issued late on Wednesday evening. 

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Besides, passengers standing in buses would not be allowed.  However, to increase buses, school buses will be requisitioned. On Tuesday, Thackeray had indicated harsh steps if people do not cooperate voluntarily. 

The state government and civic administrations of Mumbai and neighbouring corporations like Thane, Vasai-Virar and Navi Mumbai have already urged for work-from-home policy. 

In many places of Mumbai-MMR, bars, liquor and wine shops, pubs, discotheques, dance bars, public halls, malls, cinema halls have been shut. 

Meanwhile, health minister Rajesh Tope announced that from Thursday, another two coronavirus testing labs will start operating at KEM Hospital and Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai and BJ Medical College Pune, and in the next few days, a total of eight more laboratories shall be opened including Haffkine Institute Mumbai. They will test around 250 samples daily.

“We may permit even private labs to take up the testing but after taking all the necessary permissions and giving them the proper infrastructure,” Tope said, after visiting the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

Shop timings would also be regulated in such a way so that there is no crowd in shops.

The government has also said that those on self-quarantine must not step out of their houses.

Thackeray has also appealed that essential commodities and other food items should not be stocked unnecessarily.

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