Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities curbing nonessential activity in many urban regions of western India as of July 27 due to COVID-19. Other measures in effect.
- Alert Begins: 27 Jul 2020 11:35 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 10 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Goa, Gujarat, and Maharashtra states (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Business and transport disruptions, increased security; possible clashes
Authorities in western Indian states are imposing, or plan to impose, strict restrictions on nonessential activity in multiple urban centers as of July 27, due to a significant number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Less severe measures are in place outside of containment zones and urban centers; limited public transport and all forms of private transport are operational in such areas. Special intercity trains for stranded passengers and limited domestic flights are also permitted. Entrants from overseas or other Indian states will undergo a 14-day quarantine; symptomatic passengers will stay in a medical facility while asymptomatic patients will be quarantined at home or in a government facility, according to local rules. Both essential and nonessential business operations have resumed, including some religious sites, shopping malls, dine-in restaurants, and hotels. Entertainment venues and most public sites remain closed. Major cities, especially across Maharashtra State, have reported no significant decrease in cases, delaying normalization. Current or planned measures include:
- Goa: Officials are imposing a daily curfew 2000-0600 through at least Aug. 10. Only emergency services and select essential businesses will operate during curfews. Residents must stay home to the extent possible, and utilize home delivery for essential needs. Entry and exit to the state, including via road and air, is restricted. All entrants must hold accommodation bookings and a COVID-19 negative certification obtained within 48 hours prior to travel; those entering without test results will be subject to rapid testing upon entry and home quarantine for four days.
- Gujarat: Nationwide nightly 2200-0500 curfew is in place through July 31. Only essential and emergency movement of people and vehicles are allowed during curfews; all nonessential businesses must close. Businesses may open until 2000 daily, while dine-in eateries may operate until 2100. Authorities are restricting travel into, within, and out of worst-hit regions such as Ahmedabad and Surat in southern Gujarat; limited transport and business entities are operational in these areas. No public or private buses are operational in Surat July 27-Aug. 4. Districts like Amreli have introduced additional checks on travelers from Ahmedabad and Surat; passengers from such locations may face travel and entry bans within and outside of Gujarat State in the coming days. Nonessential activity may be suspended at short notice in urban centers if local cases surge. Local authorities may direct asymptomatic passengers to serve the mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government facility or at home.
- Maharashtra: The state is extending a strict containment strategy in many districts, including Latur, Sangli, and Solapur, as of July 27. Similar measures are also in place across Beed, Kohlapur, Parbhani, Yavatmal districts as well as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) comprising Mumbai City, Mumbai Suburban, Navi Mumbai, and parts of Thane District through July 31. All nonemergency movement and activity remains banned in the demarcated areas; entry and exit to the locations remain limited to select transit points and for essential purposes only. Authorities have banned all nonessential public and private transport, including inter-district travel within the MMR. Except for industrial estates that may function with social distancing measures, only essential businesses will operate with limited staff and opening hours until 1400 daily. Officials are advising residents to stay home and use delivery services to the extent possible. Extensions are likely; other regions may face similar restrictions if local cases rise in the coming days. Nonessential activity has resumed in Pune metropolitan region as of July 27; business will function 0900-1700 while retail shops will follow odd-even opening restrictions operational in other noncontainment zones. Under these rules, shops that officials delineate as being on the right side of the street will function on even dates while those on the left side will function on odd dates. Other areas outside of containment zones across the state are reopening some public sites and limited public buses. Asymptomatic passengers may serve the mandatory 14-day quarantine at their residence.
Local administration and police will continue to enforce and facilitate control measures. Emergency and utility services remain operational nationwide. While banks and businesses selling essential goods, such as fuel, food, and medicines, remain open in containment zones, officials will almost certainly regulate price, supply, and opening hours. Panic-buying and associated localized shortages of essential goods may occur in some areas. Sporadic clashes are possible if groups attempt to enforce business closures or defy official orders. Police may forcibly disperse unruly crowds. Violators may face legal action. Authorities could modify restrictions at short notice, mainly in major cities.
Nationwide restrictions, including the mandatory use of masks in public, the closure of public spaces, such as educational and entertainment venues, a ban on large gatherings, and suspension of non-repatriation international travel, continue. However, businesses and limited public transport can operate outside containment zones with hygiene and social distancing guidelines. A shortened 2200-0500 nightly curfew will continue until further notice.
Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the Indian government are similar to actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions; minimize outdoor activity to the extent possible. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm business appointments, deliveries, work, and travel arrangements. Do not check out of accommodation without confirming onward travel. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Ensure access to essential items, plan for queues, and delays at available shopping centers. Carry proper identification documents, heed all security advisories.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.