As Maharashtra on Thursday reported three fresh cases of COVID-19, taking the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 48, Mumbai’s famed Dabbawallas said they are suspending services till March 31 in view of the present situation.

Subhash Talekar, spokesperson of Mumbai Dabbawala Association on said the service will remain suspended from Friday as a precautionary measure. The dabbawalas who send out tiffin to homes and offices are among Mumbai’s lifeline.

“All schools are shut. Some of the offices are closed as well. We don’t have enough dabbas to deliver. On an average, if a dabbawala delivers 35 tiffin boxes, he’s doing 12. It doesn’t make sense to risk your life for 12 dabbas,” said Subhash Talekar, spokesperson for the Dabbawala Association. Usually the dabbawalas deliver around 200,000 tiffin boxes on a daily basis.

To contain the coronavirus outbreak, the Maharahstra Government on Wednesday decided to keep government offices functional with 50% attenance and operate the railway, state transport, private buses, metro, public transport system at 50% passenger capacity.

After a review meeting on Wednesday evening, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “To tackle the coronavirus outbreak, the need of the hour is to control crowding.”

In buses, commuters will not be allowed to stand. They would also be instructed to sit at a distance from each other, Thackeray said.

The government has also decided to change the timings of shops in such a way that they remain open by turn from morning to evening.

On Tuesday, COVID-19 claimed its first victim in Mumbai–a 63-year-old man– prompting the state government to ramp up testing and isolation facilities and take help from private hospitals and laboratories.

After a Group of Ministers reviewed the situation on Monday, the government advised people to avoid non-essential travel. Many companies have allowed their employees to work from home.

The government is stamping the hands of all those who have been sent to home quarantine to prevent the number of cases from increasing.



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