MUMBAI: In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that all private shops, offices and establishments in Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur metropolitan regions will be shut down from midnight on Friday until March 31.
Only essential services like bakeries, dairies, vegetable markets and grocery shops will be kept open. Bank services will be also open for financial transactions.
Chief Minister Thackeray said that government offices will function with 25 per cent minimum staffers against the earlier 50 per cent.
Thackeray also appealed to private firm owners that when offices are shut down, employers should pay the minimum wages or salaries as per the rule to their employees.
The CM clarified that Mumbai local trains and buses will not be shut down because they are like the vein of the city.
"Our many medical hospital and corporation employees come from the suburbs, therefore train and bus services are essential for the city. After our appeal, the crowds in public transport and on the roads have reduced significantly. We do not want to take harsh measures. The closing of buses and train services will be the last resort," Thackeray said.
It was also informed that in Maharashtra, there are a total of 52 coronavirus positive patients. "Out of this, five patients have completely recuperated and they can be discharged at any time. However we have decided to keep them under medical observation for a few days."
Uddhav Thackeray was also thankful to Bollywood stars who made short films to spread awareness of hygiene practices during the outbreak of the virus.
Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad made another big announcement by cancelling the examinations of standard I to VIII.
"The standard IX and XI examination will be conducted after April 15. All teachers except 10th class should work from home," the Education Minister informed.