COVID-19 alert: Maharashtra government orders malls, gyms and cinema halls to remain shut in six cities including Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Nagpur
Maharashtra government today declared coronavirus an epidemic in six cities - Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur.
Speaking in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Uddhav Bal Thackeray announced that the government is invoking the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 from midnight. In its measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, public places will remain closed from midnight tonight till March 31, or until further orders.
“Malls, gyms, cinema halls, swimming pools to remain closed in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur from midnight tonight,” said Uddhav Bal Thackeray while asking all corporates and private owners to allow employees to work from home, wherever feasible.
He further asked people to avoid unnecessary travel and crowded places.
The minister also informed that so far 17 people have been tested positive for coronavirus in the state — three each in Mumbai and Nagpur, 10 in Pune and one in Thane.
Additionally, in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad -- where the maximum 10 Covid-19 positive cases have been reported -- even schools will remain shut barring those where SSC/HSC examinations are being conducted, until further orders.
"We will consider postponing school, college and university examinations after a status review over the next few days, and if the situation warrants it, a decision will be taken accordingly," Thackeray said.
The latest development comes a day after the state government directed that all public functions, gathering and events shall be cancelled till further notice in view of coronavirus. Thackeray reiterated on Friday that all permissions given for such functions shall be revoked until the next order.
The new measures are expected to reduce overcrowding in the Mumbai suburban trains, public buses and cabs, besides preventing large gatherings witnessed at other public places like theatres, multiplexes, or crowds at swimming pools and gyms.
However, there is no immediate plan to impose a statewide lockdown on educational institutions in view of the ongoing annual (final) school-college examination seasons, an official from the education department informed.
Similar decisions have been taken by the governments of Kerala, Delhi and Karnataka. Earlier in the day, Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa announced that public spaces, colleges, universities and swimming pools will remain closed for a week starting April 14. The news came after a 76-year-old man, who had returned to Karnataka from Saudi Arabia about 10 days ago, died in a Hyderabad hospital, registering India's first coronavirus fatality.