Institutional quarantine made mandatory for passengers flying from UK
In a bid to arrest the surge in COVID-19 infection in the state, the Maharashtra govt. has planned on implementing a 7-hour long, night curfew in all cities, including Mumbai, for the next 15 days. According to the directives, the curfew will be active from 11 PM to 6 AM. As per reports, this restrictive protocol shall be observed for 15 days until January 5, 2021.
State imposes curfew to re-enforce norms of social distancing
In a meeting called by the Maharashtra Chief Minister, two arguments were highlighted to reason the enforcement of the night curfew in the state. These included laxity in following the norms of preventive protocols and caution against the new mutated strain of COVID-19 reported in the United Kingdom.
As per the statements issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner, there were multiple occurrences where the people flouted the norms of social distancing in the capital Mumbai. With this in the backdrop and the approaching festive season in mind, the state has recognised a need to arrest public movement to curtail the rise of COVID-19 cases. The duration of the restriction has been mapped to clamp the city during Christmas and the oncoming new year celebrations. The BMC Commissioners stated that this was not a usual year, where the people can engage in normal celebrations, adding, that the curfew has been implemented to prevent the violation of preventive protocols.
The new norms of Night Curfew and Air Travel:
Distinguishing between a lockdown and night curfew, the BMC Commissioner stated that a lockdown prevents people from stepping out of their houses, while on the other hand, a night curfew restricts the assembly of 5 or more people outside during the curfew hours. Explaining further, he added that services that worked overnight such as transport and essential services have been permitted to operate as usual.
There are multiple changes that have been introduced with the implementation of the night curfew and they are as follows:
- The 7-hour long night curfew has been imposed in all cities and municipal corporation areas in the state, w,e.f December 22, 2020, to January 5, 2021. The curfew will curtail assembly of 5 or more people outside from 11 PM to 6 AM
- Essential and overnight services will be permitted to work during the night curfew.
- All travellers reaching Mumbai airport from European countries and the Middle East have to undergo institutional quarantine. Passengers will be allowed to go their homes as soon as they complete their term of quarantine.
- Immediate RT-PCR test on arrival has been scrapped for the travellers arriving from UK. Instead, samples will be collected on the fifth or the seventh day of quarantine to check the positivity of the infection.
- International travellers arriving at Mumbai airport apart from Europe and the Middle East will be prescribed to isolate in home quarantine.
- Municipal commissioners will arrange for temporary institutional quarantine facilities near airports and hotels.
- All passengers, nearly 1000 people, who were to fly to the UK from Mumbai will be accommodated at 2000 hotel rooms arranged or them given the suspension of air travel between India and UK, with effect from Monday. These travellers would be accommodated at 2000 hotel rooms arranged for them, while those exhibiting virus symptoms will be admitted to the GT Hospital at Fort.
Authorities on alert owing to the new Covid-19 strain in the UK
Besides this, the night curfew has been introduced as a caution against the new mutation of COVID-19 strain in the UK. This has been a primary cause of concern for the state and medical authorities as the new variant is reported to be far more transmissible than those already plaguing the world. The state of Maharashtra has appealed the people to remain alert for the next 15 days until the virus is completely investigated for impacts and treatment.