Amid sharp COVID-19 case surge in the city, Pune authorities have ordered a 12-hour curfew starting 6 PM tomorrow for one week. The night curfew will start from 6 PM to 6 AM and for the next week, bars, religious places, restaurants will be closed. Earlier, the curfew timings were 8 PM to 7 PM. According to Saurabh Rao, Pune Divisional Commissioner, the situation will be assessed on Friday, April 9, exactly one week from the day the issue is effective (April 3).

To curb the spread of the COVID-19 cases, Pune authorities also issued an order which said that the city will not see any public functions except funerals and weddings being held. According to the new order, only 50 people will be permitted to attend a wedding and 20 people will be permitted to attend a funeral. Moreover, the Pune’s buses that run under the city’s transport system Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal (PMPML), will also not be permitted to operate for the next 7 days. When it comes to exceptions, only deliveries of essential items like food, medicines will be allowed in this period. However, one should note that the delivery of these services will also be permitted till 10 pm.

“All these decisions were taken in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases in the last few days. The situation is becoming critical. In the last one week, the positivity rate of the district has crossed 32 per cent,” Saurabh Rao said.

Meanwhile, Murlidhar Mohol, Mayor of Pune district issued an order to all private hospitals to make 80% of their beds vacant for COVID-19 patients. However, when asked about a blanket lockdown in the district, he claimed that there is “no serious need” for such a measure right now.

Mr. Mohol was quoted by news agency ANI saying, “Instead testing, tracing and vaccination drives have to be increased,” he told news agency ANI.

On Wednesday, another grim day ended in the Pune district as it reported 8,605 new COVID-19 cases. One should note that this is the biggest surge the city registered since the pandemic began earlier last year. So far, 10,039 people have already lost their lives with 65 new patients that lost their fights against the virus on Thursday.

Maharashtra too reported it’s highest ever caseload in one day since the pandemic began in March last year. On Thursday, the state reported 43,193 fresh COVID-19 cases which takes the overall toll to 28,56,163. The state was 1 person shy from reporting 250 deaths on Thursday, which is another unfortunate record since October 2020. The 249 deaths reported on Thursday took the total toll to 54,898. Currently, Maharashtra is among the top 8 states which are accounting for almost 85% of the daily new COVID-19 cases in the country.

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray to address Maharashtra Citizens today

Meanwhile, Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar on Thursday announced that Maharashtra Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will be addressing the state’s citizens tonight at 8:30 pm. Moreover, it was also reported that CM Thackeray will also be leading a meeting with the top officials of the state regarding the state of COVID-19 surge.

Speaking to reporters, Mayor Pednekar said, “Cases are rising daily in Mumbai, this is a matter of concern. Due to the surge, a shortage of beds and ventilators is also being seen. We had been appealing to people since last March but they are showing carelessness.” “Nobody wants lockdown but keeping in mind the manner in which cases are rising and creating pressure on the health infrastructure, some strict measures will have to be taken,” she also added.

The mayor also hinted that the authorities will be imposing further restrictions in Mumbai. No official announcement has been made in the regard of a blanket lockdown, but multiple “micro-shutdowns” in phased manner, like the one that’s imposed in Pune starting today, may be imposed in Mumbai too. Mayor Kishori said that the Mumbai authorities will be making a decision on shutting down restaurants, hotels, theatres in the coming week.