Maharashtra has announced a statewide 15-day curfew from April 14 and said that Section 144 (prohibitory orders) of the Criminal Procedure Code will be in force during the period to curb large gatherings, as the state looks for ways to control the rapid spread of coronavirus cases that are “exploding dangerously”, straining its health infrastructure. It has urged the Centre to help it with oxygen supply to help treat COVID patients.
The state reported 60,212 fresh cases of COVID on Tuesday, with 281 new deaths.
Only essential services will be allowed during the curfew, which will come into effect from 8 pm on Wednesday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said in his address via social media to people of the state on Tuesday (April 13).
Section 144 (prohibitory orders) of the Criminal Procedure Code will be in force till the “lockdown-like” restrictions are in place, Thackeray said. He refrained from terming the new curbs as a lockdown.
Thackeray said only essential services will be allowed from 7 am to 8 pm during the 15 days.
The state had earlier announced night curfew and weekend lockdowns to “break the chain” of COVID infections.
“This is a war against coronavirus again. The increase in COVID cases has put a strain on Maharashtras’s health infrastructure,” he said.
There is a shortage of medical oxygen and beds and the demand for Remdesivir has increased in Maharashtra, Thackeray said, adding the Centre should help supply oxygen for coronavirus patients in the state by using Air Force planes.
“We have 1,200 MT production of oxygen, and all of it is being diverted for medical use,” he said. He said he has told Prime Minister Narendra Modi) that the state will need more oxygen in coming days.
“We have requested the PM to send us the oxygen by air with the help of military forces instead of transporting it by road,” he said
The state government will provide three kg wheat and two kg rice free for the next one month to every poor and needy person while the coronavirus-induced restrictions are in
place, Thackeray said.
(With agency inputs)