Traffic Jams In Mumbai As Cops Enforce "2-km Rule" In Coronavirus Fight

Mumbai witnessed massive traffic jams today as the traffic police created multiple checkpoints to strictly enforce the 2-km travel restriction applicable for all except office goers.

Coronavirus: Jams were especially reported from the Dahisar toll naka, an entry point to Mumbai.

Mumbai:

Mumbai witnessed massive traffic jams today, especially near the city exits, as the police created multiple checkpoints to strictly enforce the 2-km-radius travel restriction applicable for all, barring office goers.

While the congestion was restricted to checkpoints, it led to fears of "crowding" on the road amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Mumbai Police said people had nothing to fear if they were wearing masks or if they were in their cars.

Monday's visuals of vehicular congestion were unusual even for a city where two-hour traffic jams are considered normal.

The pressure on city's road network has increased since most officer-goers are not allowed to use the local trains - its lifelines which are now reserved for safe movement of essential service providers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Though the police were seen impounding vehicles of those violating the 2-km-radius rule, which dictates residents meet their basic needs within their neighbourhoods, that number was not very significant.

On the Western Express Highway, cars, bikes and large supply vehicles were seen inching forward bumper-to-bumper meters ahead of a police barricade on the arterial road.

"I have been stuck at this point for an hour. The roads are empty other than in places where barricading has been done," a commuter told NDTV.

Another commuter said he, too, was "stuck on the Western Express Highway for 50 minutes because of the police checking ahead".

Similar scenes were also reported from the Eastern Express Highway, which also runs along the length of the city.

Amid a steady growth of coronavirus cases in the Maharashtra capital the Mumbai Police had, on Sunday, told residents to only visit markets, salons, barber shops and parks close to their residence, and not step out of the house unnecessarily.

"Only those attending offices or medical emergencies are allowed to go further (than 2 kms)," the police had said in a statement.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had also said people must follow rules to ensure the lockdown is not re-imposed. He warned that number of cases would rise as state restarts economic activity and urged people to exercise caution and restraint.

"In the last 15 days, we have cautiously and gradually started reopening shops and offices, we have started local [train] services for essential staff in Mumbai and small shops and businesses in rural parts of the state...Just because we are slowly starting the economy doesn't mean the danger is averted. I request you to please step out only if you have necessary work," Mr Thackeray said.

Mumbai, the second worst-hit city in the country after Delhi, on Sunday reported 1,287 cases, which took its case total to 75,539 with 156 deaths.

Maharashtra reported 5,493 new cases taking the state's coronavirus tally to 1.64 lakh cases, almost a fifth of the country's total caseload.