Mumbai News

Coronavirus: Mumbai local trains, buses to run normally for now. But Maharashtra government has a warning – India Today

Mumbai local trains and buses will continue operating normally, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray said, ending hours-long speculation that the state government could move to curtail or shut down public transport services in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. However, CM Thackeray added that his government could be forced to take the harsh decision of shutting down local train and bus services if people do not refrain from non-essential travel.

Thackeray’s comments followed day-long speculation that the Maharashtra government could shut down or curtail services of Mumbai’s local trains and buses in order to prevent mass gatherings of people. Mumbai’s local trains, which are used by a large chunk of the city’s population to travel to and fro work, get notoriously overcrowded during rush housrs.

Perventing crowds from gathering is currently the most effective measure at controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus. Several states, including Maharashtra, have shut down establishments and insitutions visited frequently by people.

On Tuesday, Thackeray held a meeting with the top managements of several corporate sectors at the Sahyadri Guest House to discuss the possible measures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. He has appealed them to allow their workers to work from home.

Thackeray also has made it clear that the government employees could not be asked to stay at work for a week as speculated in a section of media. “We can’t give them a week’s holiday. However, we are thinking on reducing the working staff by almost 50 per cent in a day. We will come with a plan on this soon.”


The chief minister said Mumbai’s local trains and buses are life line of the city so they cannot be entirely shut. “For many people it is the medium to earn their daily bread and butter. We are not going to stop the trains and buses plying. However, the people should stop unnecessary travel. If they don’t stop unnecessary crowding we will have to take a tough decision.”

Thackeray informed that the number of Covid-19 positive patients has gone up to 40 in the state. “Barring one of them [who died this morning], the others are healthy,” he said. He also appealed to the shop keepers to keep their business shut for a fortnight. “All the shops excluding those of the essential commodities should be closed down in this period. That will benefit all of us,” Thackeray said.

As far as the novel coronavirus outbreak is concerned, Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in the country. The state has reported the most number of confirmed cases, including one death. Across the country, the total number of novel coroanvirus cases currently stands at 137. These include 14 people who have recovered and three patients who have died.

Globally, novel coronavirus, which originated in a region of China, has infected more than 1.7 lakh people and has killed over 7,000 people, according to the World Health Organisation database.