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Maharashtra war with virus: Stringent norms from tonight




Grappling to break the chain of the virus, more stringent lockdown norms shall be implemented from Thursday (April 22) till May 1 with serious restrictions on movement of people or vehicles, as per an official order.

Among the highlights are — essential services providers can only travel by public transport, government offices – barring emergency services connected directly to pandemic management – can work only with 15 per cent capacity or 5 persons, whichever is higher, and marriages can host only 25 guests with a fine of Rs 50,000 for violations.

For the Central government offices in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region – the worst-hit in the country – and the Mantralaya, the department heads will decide on higher staff attendance after taking permission from the State Disaster Management Authority.

All public transport will be used for government staff, medical personnel or those requiring medical treatment, and the passes/tickets/authorization shall be issued on the basis of a government-issued I-card only, said the order from Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte.

Besides, all state and local government public bus services shall be operated with 50 per cent capacity, not standees permitted, while inter-city or inter-district travel by trains and buses would be subject to other conditions.

However, private transport can be operated only for emergency or essential services, or with valid reasons at half-capacity, but not for inter-district or inter-city travel.

Inter-district or inter-city travel will be permitted only for essential services or medical emergencies or exigencies like funerals, severe illness, etc, and those flouting shall be slapped with Rs 10,000 penalty.

In case of inter-city or inter-district travel as per other specified conditions like Covid tests at the point of embarkation with the cost borne by the passenger, wherever the travelers deboard, they will be hand-stamped and shunted to a 14-day home quarantine, and anybody detected with symptoms shall be immediately admitted to Corona hospital or care centres.

Earlier this week, the Mumbai Police introduced colour-coded stickers on vehicles for certain specific purpose which resulted in a huge relief for the authorities with no traffic jams and unnecessary commutes or joy-rides by people ending.


Congress MP Rajeev Satav loses battle to Covid



Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra, Rajiv Satav, passed away in a hospital here after a 23-day long battle with Covid-19, party officials said here on Sunday.

He was 46, and belonged to the core team of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Satav had developed Covid symptoms on April 19 and a swab test turned out to be positive on April 21.

He was admitted to the Jehangir Hospital in Pune and as his condition worsened, a week later he was put on a ventilator.

After a brief spell of recovery, his condition again deteriorated alarmingly since the last week and he remained in the ICU where he succumbed early today

Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Friday that besides Covid-19, Satav was also being treated cytomegalovirus infection and some additional complications with the help of experts.

State Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat visited the hospital and inquired about his health while Minister of State for Agriculture and Congress leader Vishwajeet Kadam was regularly in touch with the family and the hospital.

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Mumbai Police give ‘Friends’ reunion witty spin to spread Covid awareness



Mumbai Police have given a witty, quirky twist to the much-hyped and upcoming “Friends” reunion special, in a bid to create Covid-19 awareness.

The official Twitter handle of Mumbai Police shared a snapshot of the “Friends” reunion teaser and urgd everyone to reunite with friends only after the final season of Covid-19.

“‘Reunite’ with your F.R.I.E.N.D.S – but only after the final season of #COVID19 please? Till then, online meet-ups will �be there for you’ #FriendsForever #FriendsOfSafety #TakingOnCorona,” the tweet on the microblogging website read.

This is not the first time Mumbai Police has referred to the entertainment world to create awareness.

Previously they have tweeted with stills and dialogues from films like “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, “Gulabo Sitabo”, “Main Hoon Na” and “Stree” among many others for the purpose.

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Maharashtra keeps vaccination of 18-44 age group on hold




Owing to continued shortage of vaccines, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to temporarily put on hold the inoculation drive for the 18-44 age groups, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said here.

The stocks would be diverted to carry out a seamless and hassle-free vaccination for the 45-plus age group category till adequate doses of the vaccines are made available.

The decision came after a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

“The vaccination for the 18-44 age group commenced on May 1. Till date, we have vaccinated 5-6 lakh people in that category, however, there is a shortage of vaccines,” Tope told media persons.

He said that there is a scarcity of both brands of the vaccines – Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Pune, and Covaxin, produced by Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Hyderabad.

The current priority is to give the second dose to the 45-plus age groups who have already got one jab which should not go waste owing to delays due to shortages, he pointed out.

“Efficacy of the vaccines may be affected if the second dose is not administered within the stipulated time period,” said Tope, justifying the government stand to keep in abeyance the drive for the 18-44 age groups.

The government is making requests for more stocks to the Centre besides trying to source it from the international markets and the BMC plans to float global tenders for the same this week.

In a related development, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation has announced ‘Walk-in Vaccination’ for senior citizens aged above 60 for three days from Monday.

“The Walk-in Vaccination shall be permitted for all above 60 years, all who are due for the second dose and all differently-abled people. The special drive shall be conducted in all government and civic-run vaccination centres across the city from May 17-19,” Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal said.

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