Ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations, the Maharashtra government on Monday declared a night curfew in municipal corporation areas from December 22 to January 5 as a precautionary step amid growing concerns over a new coronavirus variant spreading in Britain.
According to an official statement, it has also been decided to compulsorily put in institutional quarantine for 14 days those who arrive at the states airports from European and West Asian countries.
The institutional quarantining of the travellers from these countries will begin from Monday itself, it said.
Passengers coming from other countries to Maharashtra, the worst COVID-19-affected state in the country, will be home quarantined, the statement said.
The decisions were taken after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray held a review meeting at his official residence Varsha in Mumbai in the light of the situation in the United Kingdom.
Thackeray has asked officials to ensure strict screening of international passengers, the statement said.
A decision has been taken to impose a night curfew from tomorrow (Dec 22) 11 pm onwards to 6 am in municipal corporation areas (cities) of the state.
"It will be in effect till January 5," Thackeray said, according to the statement.
Additional precaution is being taken in the state due to the new variant of coronavirus and we need to remain extra alert over the next 15 days, he added.
Once passengers arriving from European and Middle- Eastern (West Asian) countries are put in institutional quarantine, their RT-PCR test will be conducted on the fifth or seventh day, the statement said.
They will be allowed to go home only after their quarantine period is over, it said.
Thackeray instructed municipal commissioners to arrange for hotels and separate hospitals to quarantine passengers arriving at international airports in their respective jurisdiction.
The chief minister also gave instruction to arrange for separate hospitals for passengers coming from European countries and showing symptoms of the new coronavirus variant, the statement said.
He asked officials to provide PPE kits to all the employees screening passengers arriving at airports from these countries.
Passengers coming from other countries will be home quarantined and stamps will be put on their hands, the statement said.
Passengers, who have arrived from European and West Asian countries, will have to inform government authorities if they have travelled domestically by air, the statement said.
There are growing concerns about an "out of control" new variant of coronavirus spreading COVID-19 at a much faster pace in parts of England.
The new variant is said to be 70 per cent more transmissible than previous strains though health experts say there is no evidence that it is more deadly or would react differently to vaccines.