Mumbai Orders Work-From-Home Through April on Virus Surge
Mumbai authorities asked all private offices to work from home through April as India’s financial hub emerges once again as the epicenter of a new wave of coronavirus infections.
Banks, stock exchanges, medical and insurance services will be allowed some staffing concessions, according to a government notification Sunday. All non-essential services including malls, places of worship and beauty salons will shut operations from 8 p.m. on Monday.
Cinema operators PVR Ltd. and Inox Leisure Ltd. plunged as much as 6.3% and 8% in early trading Monday. Indian Hotels Co. dropped 3.5% and Lemon Tree Hotels Ltd. declined 6%. The benchmark stock index dipped 0.8%.
“There is an alarming rate of growth of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal government said in a statement earlier Sunday. Maharashtra state -- which contributes about 15% of India’s national output -- accounted for 57% of new infections over the past 14 days and 47% of deaths during the period.
India is heading toward 100,000 daily cases, which would be a record. The resurgence follows an unexplained lull in recent months, which allowed businesses to re-open and fostered optimism in policy makers about a recovery in growth. Asia’s third-largest economy had slumped into a historic recession last year after Modi announced a sudden, vast and strict lockdown.
Maharashtra will impose a complete lockdown over weekends. Anyone breaking the rules will be fined 500 rupees ($7), a luxury for many in the city where the amount could buy a second-class mid-distance railway pass to cover you for a month.
Delivery staff, transport workers and other personnel must be vaccinated as early as possible under government rules, and those not yet eligible must have a test certificate to show they aren’t infected. The negative RT-PCR statement will be valid for 15 days.
India recorded 93,249 new infections on Sunday, the highest daily tally since Sept. 19. Mumbai reported a record 11,163 cases for the day.
About 75 million citizens have been vaccinated so far in the country of 1.3 billion people.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.