COVID-19 update: Streets, markets deserted as first weekend lockdown comes into force in Maharashtra
The first weekend lockdown in Maharashtra, the worst-hit state by the novel coronavirus, began at 8 pm on Friday and it will continue till 7 am on Monday
Mumbai: The weekend lockdown imposed across Maharashtra to bring under control the COVID-19 surge, has elicited a positive response from people so far with the streets and markets in most parts of the state, including Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur, wearing a deserted look, officials said on Saturday.
However, at some locations in the state, including some market areas in Mumbai, people were seen flouting social distancing and other norms by gathering at one place in large numbers.
The first weekend lockdown in the state began at 8 pm on Friday and it will continue till 7 am on Monday.
The announcement about the weekend lockdown had been made on Sunday, when the state government also declared some other restrictions, like night curfew during the weekdays and prohibitory orders during the day time as part of its ''Break the Chain'' COVID-19 action plan. The weekend lockdown and other curbs will continue till April 30.
In the country's financial capital, some areas like south Mumbai were completely deserted due to the lockdown. But people in some other pockets of the city, like the market areas in the central parts and some suburbs in the eastern parts, could be seen stepping out of their houses and also crowding at some points.
A large number of people were seen in the Dadar vegetable market, with many of them not even wearing face masks, eyewitnesses said.
At many places in the city, people also made a beeline outside liquor shops.
Mumbai police have deployed personnel to ensure that people adhere to the rules.
Taking to Twitter, Mumbai Police had said, "Indoor Mode: ON! A Friday-evening reminder about the weekend lockdown from 8 pm tonight till 7 am Monday. We urge all citizens to not step out, except for essential services or medical emergencies. Stay home, Mumbaikars. Help Mumbai stay safe!"
In Pune, the weekend lockdown has so far received a good response as all shops, commercial establishments, major market areas remained shut and there were no people on the roads.
"There is a very good response to the weekend lockdown in Pune. Barring medical shops, almost all other shops, commercial establishments and market areas are shut. People are not coming out on the streets and 95 per cent of those who stepped out, had a valid reason to do so," Joint Commissioner of Police Ravindra Shisave said.
Police have set up multiple checkpoints in the city to ensure that people follow the lockdown in letter and spirit.
The lockdown in Pune had started at 6 pm on Friday.
In Aurangabad, the weekend lockdown brought the movement of people under control.
People have deferred their travel plans and the movement of public transport vehicles has also declined, a senior official told PTI on Saturday.
"The weekend lockdown in Aurangabad district had come into effect from the second week of March due to the spike in cases. This was done to avoid unnecessary rush during the weekends," DCP Nikhesh Khatmode said.
Nagpur Commissioner of Police Amitesh Kumar told PTI that the weekend lockdown in the city has received a good response so far.
Compounding the frustration is the struggle by many in the diaspora to convince family and friends in India to abide by basic social distancing and masking protocols
Blood samples taken from private laboratories in non-slum areas showed sero-positivity of 28.5 percent in the current survey, whereas the figures in July and August last year were 16 percent and 18 percent , respectively
Mumbai records lowest rise in COVID-19 cases since 30 March; daily cases fall by over 47% in 20 days
A civic official said that increased testing and isolation of patients along with the exodus of migrant labourers may have led to the decline in COVID-19 cases