Coronavirus Outbreak: Soon, seating arrangements in BEST; shops to be open on alternate days

Updated: 18 March, 2020 22:55 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

At present, Maharashtra has the highest number COVID-19 cases in the country at 43, with Mumbai, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad reporting one cases each on Wednesday

Uddhav Thackeray
Uddhav Thackeray

With the rising number of positive Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a series of measures to ensure social distancing in public transport and market areas.

At present, Maharashtra has the highest number COVID-19 cases in the country at 43, with Mumbai, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad reporting one cases each on Wednesday.

A circular by the state read that the government will be introducing a seating arrangement in BEST buses and also introduce the school buses to run on everyday routes in order to reduce crowd.

Maharashtra CM has asked transport agencies like metro, buses and railways to try and run at 50% passenger capacity. Railways have clarified this by saying this means limiting crowds in a particular compartment and not curtailing of services.

While BEST has been directed not to carry standee passengers at all, if required they can procure school and other buses if additional buses are required.

Mumbai Metro spokesperson said that they will fully cooperate with the state government directives and work accordingly.

Western Railway chief public relations officer Ravinder Bhakar said, "The Maharashtra government's decision of shutting down to offices has already led to a significant drop in the crowd and with further shutdowns announced, the crowds will drop further. We appeal to commuters to keep social distancing voluntarily."

Meanwhile, Central Railway chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said, "CR is taking all measures to reduce crowd in coaches. Awareness campaign- announcements, posters, video clips , increase in PF fare, monitoring through CCTV, Vinyl wrapping, a campaign against spiting, Namaskar Campaign etc."

The circular also added that shops in crowded market areas would be open on alternate days and the owners will be updated about it in the coming weeks. 

As far as the stocks for the necessary commodities are concerned, the CM has advised people to not hoard items and asked them 'not to worry about the shelves running out stocks.'

With 10 cases, Pimpri-Chinchwad has recorded the highest number of positive cases in the state. Mumbai and Pune have reported eight positive cases each, while Nagpur has recorded four so far. Navi Mumbai, Yavatmal and Kalyan have recorded three positive cases each, while Raigad, Thane, Aurangabad and Ahmednagar have reported one positive case each so far. A 64-year-old man, who had tested positive for the infection, died in Mumbai on Tuesday.

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First Published: 18 March, 2020 20:33 IST

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