The Maharashtra cabinet on Thursday expressed concern over crowding in markets despite the lockdown enforced to facilitate social distancing and halt the spread of coronavirus, and mulled if these places can be completely shut for sometime in certain areas. In the cabinet meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, ministers discussed how people were still crowding markets despite repeated requests from the administration not to do so.
The cabinet, which met for a second time this week, discussed the prevailing coronavirus situation in the state and steps being taken by the government to halt its spread. The ministers discussed if markets can be shut completely for a specific period to strictly implement social distancing. Asked about it, revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat told reporters that a complete lockdownfor some period of time is extremely necessary to contain the spread of the viral infection.
“Crowds in markets need to be avoided. If a decision to shut markets is taken, such areas need to be finalised and crowds need to be stopped completely. “More cause of concern is places having high population density like Mumbai. The discussion pertained to Mumbai and its neighbouring areas,” he said.
Currently, people are allowed to step out of their homes to buy essential commodities and medicines. Minority affairs minister Nawab Malik said the cabinet decided that ministers and political party leaders will not speak on boom (mics) of news television channels as a precaution to avoid the spread of the disease. It was decided that sound bytes will be given through mobile phone videos, he said.
With 1,297 COVID-19 cases so far, Maharashtra leads in the number of coronavirus patients in the country.