The West Bengal government on Saturday took stringent measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus by ordering closure of non-essential public places like restaurants, pubs, zoos and museums till March 31, even as the state reported the third case of viral infection.
An official notification from the home and hill affairs department said, “In order to further check non-essential social gathering which leads to spread of the virus from infected person to healthy person, it is ordered to shut all restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, night clubs, hookah bars, massage parlours, amusement parks, museums, zoos, with effect from 0600 hours of 22/03/2020”.
The state has ordered a ban on other social gatherings as well. However, it has allowed functions such as marriage and cremation, while stating that the gathering should be kept at a bare minimum in order to ensure proper social distancing.
The order, which remains in effect till March 31, calls for Strict legal action in case of violation.
Three cases of infection have so far been reported in the state with all the patients coming to Kolkata from the UK.
State chief minister Mamata Banerjee has already urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately stop all international flights into the city, as the infection has been brought to the state by people coming from international locations, namely the UK.
India has already announced a ban on the landing of scheduled international commercial passenger flights from March 22 to March 29.
Around 88 samples have been tested so far and 18,700 people have been put under home surveillance. Around 563,000 people have been screened.
Invoking the West Bengal Epidemic Disease Covid-19 Regulation 2020, the government has advised people coming from abroad, especially the US, UK, Europe and West Asia to self-quarantine for 14 days. People not following the procedure could face action including forced quarantine.
Kolkata police commissioner Anuj Sharma said that following this order, two women have been forcibly shifted to a hospital from a housing complex in Ballygunj for not adhering to home quarantine after returning from abroad. In fact the second positive case of Covid-19 was reported from this locality.
The government has already cancelled all Board examinations and has ordered the schools to be shut till April 14.
Moreover, to curb the economic impact of the virus on the poor, the government has decided to offer foodgrains and ration till September free of cost.