Exams postponed in Maharashtra; popular shrines close doors
The Maharashtra government on Monday postponed school, college examinations and ordered the closure of all educational institutions across the state till further orders as the number of coronavirus cases in the state mounted to 39.
“Next 15-20 days are most important for the state. We will have to take all the precautions. It has been observed that the rise of the cases in the second week and the third week of the outbreak is very high and hence the state government does not want to take any chances,” said chief minister Uddhav Thackeray after holding a review meeting.
With several people complaining of poor quarantine facilities, the authorities in Mumbai have organised them at four hotels for those who want to pay. The hotels will charge the patients for staying there. But the rates will be half of the regular charges.
Thackeray appealed to the people to observe self-discipline and avoid crowded places and travel unless absolutely required. “We have not decided to shut public transport, restaurants, and hotels yet. We are expecting people to do their bit to prevent the spread.”
He added they will ask religious heads to not allow gathering like processions at temples, mosques and other such places.
Health minister Rajesh Tope said the state was in stage two of the outbreak when people infected abroad were passing the infection to others. “We are taking measures to contain stage three which may see a sudden spike in the number of infected persons if the community transmission starts,” he said.
Authorities in Mumbai said they will ask private establishments in the city to work with half of their workforce and let their employees work from home on a rotational basis to avoid overcrowding of public transport.
The government has also decided to put marks on the hands of people, who have been asked to undergo self-quarantine so that they are prevented from mixing with others.
Several popular religious places such as Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak Temple announced the closure of the shrine to the devotees. National parks have been shut.
The state government has also restricted the entry of visitors to the state secretariat.
So far, the state government has isolated 794 people. Of them, 717 have tested negative. As many as 108 people are still is isolation wards and 621 have been home quarantined.
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