Coronavirus Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray tweeted they haven't decided on full lockdown
Mass forwarded messages on WhatsApp and social media that a full lockdown will be enforced in Maharashtra, the state with the highest number of coronavirus cases, from June 15 has prompted Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to tweet an appeal not to believe in the malicious rumours.
Maharashtra on May 31 announced its "Mission Begin Again" plan that allowed outdoor activities from 5 am to 7 pm, and shops to reopen between 9 am and 5 pm, while maintaining safety guidelines and social distancing practices.
The rising cases of coronavirus, however, have caused concerns and soon the rumours of a full lockdown - one with all restrictions excluding essential services - started appearing on social media.
"The lockdown has not been reimposed. CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has appealed to the people to refrain from crowding. He has earnestly requested them to follow the Govt's instructions and take necessary precautions to stay safe and take care," the Chief Minister's Office tweeted from its official handle.
The lockdown has not been reimposed. CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has appealed to the people to refrain from crowding. He has earnestly requested them to follow the Govt's instructions and take necessary precautions to stay safe and take care.— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) June 12, 2020
Rumours on instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and social media are a kind of a pandemic themselves amid the coronavirus lockdown, tech security experts say, as they tend to spread fast and could potentially lead to trouble for the public who fall for fake information.
Maharashtra has 95 labs to screen for COVID-19, of which 54 are government ones and 41 are run by private firms.
The rumours could have started after Mr Thackeray on Wednesday warned that the easing of restrictions could be rolled back if people didn't follow social distancing rules strictly.
"Lockdown may continue if this happens. But I am confident people will listen to the government's rules and guidelines since it is taking care of their welfare," Mr Thackeray had said.
The Shiv Sena-led government has allowed government offices to open with 15 per cent staff and private offices with 10 per cent strength. Taxis, autorickshaws and personal vehicles can run, but with conditions. Those attending offices will have to undergo thermal screening daily and will have to strictly follow social distancing norms.