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Coronavirus: WB shuts down several public spots

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

The West Bengal government on Saturday ordered a shutdown of a host of places frequented by the public, including restaurants, nightclubs, amusement parks, museums and zoos, till March 31, hours after the state reported its third positive coronavirus case.

The Mamata Banerjee dispensation issued a notification in the afternoon, directing closure of such public spots from Sunday, as a precautionary measure to prevent mass gatherings to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The directive applied to massage parlours and hookah bars as well, an official said, adding that strict action would be taken in case of any violation.

The city's largest pet market at Galiff Street was also shut down for two weeks, he said.

The West Bengal Higher Education Department announced that the ongoing Class 12 board examinations in the state were postponed till April 15.

The state government has convened an all-party meeting on March 23 to discuss the situation arising out of the pandemic, sources said.

A communication has been sent to all the major political parties, urging them to attend the meeting at the state secretariat at 4 pm.

Speaking to a television channel earlier in the day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the railways for not ensuring proper screening of the passengers and migrant workers entering the state in long-distance trains.

Banerjee said she had asked the chief secretary to communicate to the railway authorities about immediately stopping all long-distance trains to Bengal, as the public sector behemoth was facilitating the return of migrant workers to the state "without proper screening".

"Yesterday, I had urged the Centre to stop the arrival of all international flights in West Bengal," she said.

On the availability of masks and hand sanitisers, Banerjee said the priority of her government was to supply those first to health workers, cleaning staff and police personnel.

"The small-scale sector in the state is manufacturing around 6,000 litres of alcohol-based hand sanitiser everyday. We will first supply it to those who are in the priority list and then it will be made available to the public," the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said.

A state health department official said a woman with a recent travel history to Scotland tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Saturday, making it the third confirmed case in West Bengal.

The woman, in her early 20s, returned from Scotland on March 16 and was subsequently admitted to the Beliaghata ID Hospital here with COVID-19 symptoms, he said.

The official, however, could not confirm whether she was in home quarantine in accordance with the protocol after returning from abroad.

Her family members have been kept in home quarantine.

Meanwhile, the North 24 Parganas district administration sent a doctor with a travel history to the US to quarantine and closed his private chamber and nursing home.

The disaster management and civil defence department of the state said it had launched a helpline number to assist people with their queries regarding the pandemic.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 21 2020. 20:32 IST