Education

Maharashtra vaccination to continue on all days, board exams to be held – Times of India


MUMBAI: No religious, social, cultural, or political functions of any kind will be allowed for the rest of the month in the state, said the notification issued by the state government on Sunday as it announced new, lockdown-like restrictions to check the spread of Covid-19.

The state decided it would conduct board exams, but all schools, colleges, and private tuition classes would remain closed. Vaccinations will continue all days of the week. Private vehicles, including private buses, can ply as usual from 7 am to 8 pm from Monday to Friday, and in emergencies or on essential service duty from 8 pm to 7 am on weekdays and 8 pm on Friday to 7 am on Monday.

The government said essential services should ensure social distancing between customers on their premises.

“Malls, restaurants, and bars will remain closed, but takeaway service will remain in operation,” minister Nawab Malik said after a cabinet meeting. “Government and semi-government offices will run with 50% capacity while private offices will have to go for ‘work from home.”

Public transport will operate at 50% capacity. Autos and taxis will be allowed, two passengers. There will be no standing passengers allowed on buses and local trains.

Gymnasiums, salons, and beauty parlors will remain shut. Film shooting will be allowed if there is no crowding.

Only restaurants and bars inside hotels and which are an integral part of the hotel will remain open. On weekends, only home delivery services will be allowed between 7 am and 8 pm – no person may visit any restaurant or bar.

In districts where elections are to be held, permission may be granted by the district collector for any political gathering subject to certain conditions. Construction sites which have facility for worker accommodation will be allowed to operate.

On Sunday, CM Thackeray summoned a special cabinet meeting to discuss measures to curb the surge in Covid-19 cases. The urgency to impose restrictions was hastened after the state reported over 57,000 new cases, the highest since the pandemic came to the state last year.

After the cabinet meeting, deDy CM Ajit Pawar said: “The entire state had opposed a total lockdown, but health experts cautioned us about the increasing number of Covid cases.”

While issuing new guidelines, the state has changed its tag line from ‘Mission Begin Again’ to ‘Break the Chain’.

Thackeray decided to impose stricter curbs after speaking to representatives of the state task force for Covid, the medical sector, the film industry, business houses, and various political parties.

So that the economy is not affected, the state allowed industrial units to remain operational without restrictions. It said workers should not be fired and contractors should take care of such workers who get infected by the coronavirus.

The new guidelines said a residential building will be declared a ‘containment zone’ if more than five cases are found. Health minister Rajesh Tope said weddings could be held with 50 participants and a Rs 10,000 fine will be imposed for failure to follow norms. Only 20 people will be allowed at a funeral.

Newspaper production and distribution will be allowed. While all vendors have been asked to get vaccinated, inoculation is currently on for only those in the 45-plus age group.

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