Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will take a crucial decision on suspending Mumbai`s lifeline, the local train services, for a few days, as one of the measures of 'social distancing' to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said here on Tuesday (March 17, 2020).
The matter will be discussed at the state cabinet meeting on Tuesday afternoon as the government is firm that the coronavirus must not be allowed to spread from `Phase II to Phase III` at any cost.
Besides the suburban trains, the decision could also include the Mumbai Metro Rail, Monorail and other public modes of transport that have the potential to virtually paralyse the country`s commercial capital.
"There are options -- like fumigating all train coaches, limiting the number of commuters to the seats available in each bogey to avoid crowding -- being considered other than completely stopping the local train services," Tope said.
Sprawled across the Central Railway and its Harbour Line, plus Western Railway, the suburban trains are the lifeline of Mumbai which ferry over 8.50 million commuters daily serving Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad districts.
Maharashtra currently has 38 COVID-19 positive cases, the highest in the country, with one death of a 63-year-old man with a recent history of travel to Dubai.