Coronavirus | Maharashtra government orders private offices to go for ‘work from home’

CM Uddhav Thackeray urges public to show self discipline for next 15 days, limits ministers’ entourage

March 17, 2020 01:29 am | Updated 05:27 am IST - Mumbai

Tough measures:  Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray addressing a press conference on Monday.

Tough measures: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray addressing a press conference on Monday.

Maharashtra went into partial lockdown mode with the government announcing closure of private office spaces, religious shrines, and wedding functions after fresh cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) were reported from across the State on Monday.

At a meeting with health officials, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray warned that citizens would have to show greater self discipline for the next 15 days — which are crucial for the mutation of the virus — or the government would be left with no option but to go for a total closure of the financial capital and rest of the State.

Fighting COVID-19 is not only the government’s responsibility but citizens too will have to chip in by adhering to the government advisories, he said. “For everything we cannot make a law. For now we have not stopped trains and buses, we have not shut down hotels. But I request people with folded hands to adhere to the advisories to avoid total lockdown in future.”

Among the measures announced on Monday, the government, under the Epidemic Disease Act, ordered private offices to operate at below 50% of the total attendance and allow the rest to work from home.

Those offices involved in essential services are exempted from the order. “We have issued orders to all private offices just a while ago,” additional chief secretary and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi said.

The government has also asked shrines and religious sites, including temples, mosques, and churches, to avoid large gatherings and ceremonial prayers until further orders. Mr. Thackeray said he had empowered district officials to take all necessary measures, including closing of discos and pubs if needed to restrict the spread of COVID-19 in urban and rural areas. Following the orders, the city’s iconic Siddhivinayak temple announced closure with immediate effect. “I am requesting churches and mosques to follow suit,” the CM said.

The government also passed orders restricting its Cabinet and State ministers entering offices with large entourage. Now the entourage has been limited to less than 10 people, including assistants and secretaries. General public has also been restricted from entering the State headquarters.

The State postponed all university and school examinations, except Class X and Class XII, until further notice, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said. All scheduled elections has also been deferred for the next three months.

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