Five doctors on airport duty quarantined

CM asks police to show restraint against those stepping out

Addressing the State after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a nation-wide lockdown, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said he had informed Mr. Modi that Maharashtra had already announced such measures two days ago.

“There will be no change in the announcement of opening of essential services and exemption to them from the lockdown. The State has already taken the measures and these will continue,” said Mr. Thackeray, adding that even he felt scared after hearing Mr. Modi talking about a 21-day shutdown. “But it is important to defeat this pandemic,” he said.

He also announced a WhatsApp number (+912026127394) for citizens to ask questions regarding coronavirus and fact-check their information.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party slammed Mr. Modi for creating panic among the citizens by failing to clarify in his speech that essential services would remain unaffected. “This is a lockdown and not demonetisation, where one should wait till 8 p.m. to announce the decision. Had it been early in the morning, it would have given people enough time to prepare and know the details,” the party’s State president Jayant Patil said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Thackeray directed the police to show restraint, following reports of police officials using force to disperse citizens stepping out of their homes. However, he asked citizens to cooperate with the government orders by not venturing out unnecessarily.

He also asked companies and individuals providing essential goods and services to display their names and services in bold on their vehicles, and said their employees must carry identification.

“Despite the lockdown there are instances where people are coming on the streets. I can understand that people have to come out to buy vegetables, milk, medicines or other essentials. But we need to be more serious. I have instructed the police as well, regarding the same. The police should verify the reasons behind people coming out on street,” he said.

Meanwhile, the State government earlier in the day issued an amendment to the lockdown order, exempting all ports and related activities including movement of vehicles and manpower, operations of container freight station and warehouses and offices of custom house agents, and essential services of railways.

The amendment also added that all urgent pre-monsoon related works, water supply services, production and manufacturing units of essential items, including sugar, dairy units, animal feed and fodder units, are exempted from restrictions.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 11:21:17 AM |

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