Eateries, bars and restaurants in Pune district of Maharashtra will remain shut for seven days starting April 3 in view of a substantial rise in coronavirus cases of late, a senior official said on Friday. A curfew will be in place across the district from 6 pm to 6 am, and malls, cinema halls and places of religious worship will also be shut during this seven-day period, he said.
The administration introduced these "stricter restrictions" in the district, which reported more than 8,000 COVID-19 cases in the past two consecutive days. The decision to impose these curbs was taken during a review meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in Pune on Friday. "These new restrictions will be applicable for the next seven days from Saturday. As part of it, there will be a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am. Eateries, bars and restaurants will remain closed, but home delivery of the food will continue," Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao said.
"Malls, cinema halls will remain shut for seven days from Saturday. All religious places will also be closed for a week," he said. Except weddings and last rite rituals, all other public gatherings have been banned in the district. For weddings, only 50 people will be allowed and only 20 people can remain present for last rites, he added. He said that essential services have been exempted from 6 pm to 6 am curfew.
Buses of the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML), city's public transport system, will remain off roads for the next seven days, Rao said, adding that schools and colleges will remain closed till April 30.
"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," Rao said. The situation will be reviewed after seven days when further decision will be taken, he said. According to him, efforts were on to increase the number of beds in hospitals in the district.
"Since vaccination is the key to bring down the impact of infection, the speed of giving vaccines will be increased in the coming days," he said.