Published On : Thu, Mar 19th, 2020

Maha: Locals, buses to run with 50% capacity

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to keep government offices functional with 50 per cent attendance and reduce passenger load on public transport services, including suburban trains, by 50 per cent as part of efforts to enforce social distancing and contain spread of the coronavirus.

After chairing a review meeting here in the evening, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said half of the staff in government offices will work in rotation and come to work on alternate days.

“To tackle the coronavirus outbreak, the need of the hour is to control crowding,” he told reporters.

Suburban trains, the Mumbai’s lifeline, state-run buses and private ones will run only with 50 per cent of their seating capacity, Thackeray said.

In buses operated by Mumbai’s civic transport undertaking BEST, commuters will not be allowed to stand while instructions will be given to them to sit at a distance from each other, Thackeray said.

In another step to avoid crowding and mingling of large numbers of people, the chief minister said timings of shops will be decided in such a way that they remain open by turn from morning to evening.

Timings of markets during which they will be allowed to remain open will also be decided, he said.

Thackeray gave instructions to officials to ensure necessary medical equipment are available in clinics, medical colleges and health centres.

Adequate isolation and quarantinewards have been kept ready to deal with the coronavirus situation, the CM said.

Safety of medical staff treating patients is being taken care of, he said, adding citizens who are in home quarantine should not venture out.

“The government is keeping a watch on these persons and if people with the home quarantined stamp are found in public, they will be forciblyadmitted to hospital,” Thackeray warned.

The chief minister appealed to people not to hoard essential commodities in the prevailing situation.

Maharashtra currently has 43 coronavirus positive cases, the highest for any state.