MUMBAI: Amid growing concerns over fast-spreading Coronavirus cases, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had order private companies to implement the work from home for its employees.
Addressing a press conference, Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said that the state government has no plans to enforce a lockdown of any city in view of the coronavirus situation, but he asked people to avoid thronging temples, mosques, churches and other public spaces. Maharashtra has so far reported one death and 39 confirmed novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.
The government has also decided to postpone all ongoing exams in the state, Thackeray told reporters at his official residence Varsha in south Mumbai.
The next 15 to 20 days are important for the state as far as containment of the coronavirus spread is concerned and people should be extra vigilant on this aspect, he said.
There should be no crowding at religious sites in view of the novel coronavirus threat, though worship there may continue, he said.
The infection had not spread in the first two weeks, but there has been a significant rise in the third and fourth week. "The first coronavirus case was found in the state a week back so this is the start of the second week and hence we need to be extremely careful, said Thackeray.
Highlighting that the coronavirus is spreading in multiples in various parts of the world, he said in New York and Iran only two people were infected by the virus in the first week.
However, New York had 613 cases by the third week, while Iran reported 12,500 cases in the fifth week, he said.
There should be no crowding at religious sites in view of the novel coronavirus threat, the chief minister said.
"The coronavirus has spread all over the world. There is hardly any country in the world that is not yet under the coronavirus threat. This is a global challenge now, said Thackeray.
According to the Chief Minister, his government has not made any decision to stop rail and bus services and shut hotels through malls have been shut down. Whatever we are doing is in the interest of citizens. I am sure people will observe self-restraint. It is not correct to make rules for everything, he said and pleaded with people to avoid unnecessary travel.
The entire government machinery is well prepared, but I appeal citizens not to panic, he said. The Maharashtra CM said there should be uniformity in the steps taken to disinfect trains and buses in the state.
He said the government will also paint a suburban and an outstation train with instructions on how to prevent and fight the deadly viral infection. Meanwhile, BMC - Mumbai civic body - has already asked private and public sector companies to encourage their employees to work from home.
A circular issued by the municipal commissioner also said non-essential service provider companies should work with 50 per cent staff capacity, making their staff work in rotation.
Steps are being taken to reduce the crowds in public transport in Mumbai, it said.