Mumbai (Reuters)-India’s wealthiest state, Maharashtra, announced strict COVID-19 restrictions starting on Monday, after infections have risen rapidly and now account for more than half of the country’s daily new cases.
An industrialist who met with the chief minister before announcing the containment measures quoted him as saying, “The situation is severe and there may be a shortage of hospital beds, doctors and oxygen cylinders.”
He declined to be named, but his comments reflected to the Indian media the comments of government and health officials on the situation in India, including the crowded financial capital of Mumbai.
The state will close shopping centers, cinemas, bars, restaurants and places of worship from Monday night.
State Minister Nawab Malik told reporters after a cabinet meeting that the authorities will also complete a complete lockdown over the weekend.
Malik said the government will impose a curfew across the state from 8pm to 7am on Mondays, and only allow basic services to be provided during these hours.
Millions of migrant workers come from all over India to find work in western India, which accounts for about 16% of India’s economic output.
The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray, issued a statement in his office saying that he had met with industrialists before the restrictions were announced.
Malik said that industrial activities such as manufacturing and construction activities will be allowed to continue as usual.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a high-level meeting on Sunday to review the status of COVID-19 and the vaccination plan.
According to data from the Federal Ministry of Health, the country reported 93,249 new cases in the 24 hours as of Sunday morning. Maharashtra, which accounts for less than one-tenth of the population, has set a new record of 49,447 new cases.
According to the Ministry of Health, the state contributed 57% of the country’s total cases and 47% of deaths in the past 14 days.
Despite the new restrictions, the ten matches of the Indian Premier League Cricket Championship originally scheduled to be held in Mumbai from April 10 to 25 will proceed as planned, an official of the local cricket team told Reuters.
The game is scheduled to start on Friday from six locations across the country. The game without spectators has been hit, and despite the coronavirus plan for participants, two cricketers still tested positive.
Since the outbreak, India has been second only to the United States and Brazil in the number of global infections, with more than 12 million recorded cases and nearly 165,000 deaths.
Rajendra Jadhav of Satara and Abhirup Roy of Mumbai; other reports by Sudipto Ganguly; editors by Rupam Jain, Peter Graff and Alison Williams