Advising Mumbaikars to avoid unnecessary travel, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray clarified that the government's local trains and the local bus services (B.E.S.T) in Mumbai will remain open. Stating that no decision has been taken to shut these services by the state cabinet, he asked citizens to reduce the load on public transport. He added that while did not wish to cut off transport services, the government will be forced to do so if the public do not reduce crowding.
"We have not taken any decision on shutting down bus or train services today also. But I advise people to avoid any unnecessary travel and to reduce crowding. But if people do not avoid all unnecessary travel, then there is a possibility that we may have to take such a step. Such a situation should not occur is my wish," said Thackeray to reporters outside CM residence.
Clarifying another point, he added that no decision has been made regarding the functioning of government offices. He added that he has issued a directive to private companies that offices should work beyond 50% attendance. He also urged all religious leaders to shut down Mandirs, masjids, Churches, Gurudwaras for some days.
"Wherever possible, we have asked to give people work from home. Wherever not required offices should not operate. We are looking into how the Govt offices could be made to run," he added.
Earlier in the day, in a bid to minimize the footfall of people amidst the Coronavirus epidemic, the railways has hiked the prices of platform tickets from Rs 10 to Rs 50 for over 250 railway stations across the country. These are namely Mumbai, Vadodra, Ahmedabad, Ratlam, Rajkot, and Bhavnagar. Moreover, Central Railway too has cancelled 22 low occupancy trains.
On March 14, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that all malls except grocery stores that sell commodities of day-to-day need to be closed in view of coronavirus, as the number of positive cases in the state has risen to 40 with one fatality in Mumbai. The government announced that all educational institutes including public and private schools and colleges will remain shut till 31 March in view of the rise in Coronavirus cases in the state. Moreover, the government has stated that all exams of standard 10 & 12 and university courses will continue according to the schedule but postponed all exams up to Class 9. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act declaring the Coronavirus as an epidemic - declaring all gyms, swimming pools, malls, theatres, pubs shut in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur, Pimpri-Chinchwad till March 31.