Maharashtra has become the first state in India to make masks in public places optional. The state government on Thursday also revoked the Epidemic Diseases Act and Disaster Management Acts, in force for the past two years, and withdrew all Covid-19 pandemic related restrictions.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting by Uddhav Thackeray, the chief minister. The decision comes on the eve of celebrations for Gudi Padwa on Saturday.

“Gudi Padwa is the beginning of the new year,” said Thackeray.

“This is the day to start new work by replacing the old one. For the past two years, we have successfully battled the deadly coronavirus, and today, the scourge seems to be fading. To make a fresh start, the restrictions imposed during the Corona period under the Disaster Management Act as well as the Epidemic Diseases Act are being completely lifted from Gudi Padwa (April 2).”

The chief minister also urged citizens to take proper care; using masks is now optional. Maharashtra has been the worst-hit state in India.

Total Covid-19 related deaths add up to nearly 150,000.

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