“There is no need to panic. Not all fevers are due to coronavirus. But as a precautionary measure, we have asked all schools, colleges, universities and madrasas to remain closed from Monday to March 31," said CM. (Express photo)
In the wake of coronavirus outbreak, the state government on Saturday asked all educational institutions to remain closed till March 31 as a precautionary measure. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said two buildings in Rajarhat have been identified where, if needed, a large number of people can be quarantined, apart from the existing facilities in hospitals. However, the ongoing examinations, including the West Bengal Higher Secondary Board tests, will continue as scheduled.
According to a statement released by the Chief Minister’s Office, following the advisories issued by the World Health Organisation, United Nations and Centre to check the spread of coronavirus in Bengal, it has been decided that all government, state-aided , private educational institutions — schools, colleges, universities, madrasas, Shishu Shiksha Kendra and Madhyamik Shiksha Kendra — will remain closed from March 16 to 31 in public interest. All internal examinations of these institutions will remain suspended during this period. However, all Board examinations will be held as per schedule, it added.
Speaking to a news channel on Saturday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “There is no need to panic. Not all fevers are due to coronavirus. But as a precautionary measure, we have asked all schools, colleges, universities and madrasas to remain closed from Monday to March 31. We have also asked all private educational institutes to remain close for that period. On March 30, we will hold a review meeting and decide on the further course of action.”
She added, “You see children in schools are not mature and there is a chance that they may not adhere to precautionary measures strictly. We have also asked the teachers not to attend school and try and finish the course later.”
The CM also informed that the two buildings that been identified in Rajarhat are the second campus of Chittoranjan National Cancer Research Institute in Rajarhat, which is ready, and another building in the same area.
“Firhad Hakim (Urban Development Minister and Mayor) has done a survey and visited the cancer hospital. We gave land and the hospital is now complete. We will take it over and make all arrangement for doctors, nurses and isolation wards. It can house 300 to 400 people and is also near the airport. We are preparing for emergency situation. Another building in the same area has been identified too,” said Banerjee.
Special arrangements have already been made at all state-run hospitals in Kolkata and other districts, besides the Beleghata ID And BG Hospital where suspected patients are being quarantined at present.
“Many people from outside visit the state. We share border with countries like Bhutan and Bangladesh. Keeping all this is mind we have made these preparations. We have already asked people to wash hands frequently and avoid mass gatherings. As I have been told by doctors not all cold and cough problems are due to coronavirus. However, people who have fever and respiratory problems, I urge them to visit a doctor,” she said.
According to the State Health Department, 2,187 travellers from coronavirus-affected countries have been identified till March 13 and placed under surveillance. As many as 204 of them have completed their surveillance period. Six have been admitted to the isolation ward. Rest 1,977 are under home surveillance. Till date 50 samples had been sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune, and ICMR-NICED, Kolkata, and all of them have tested negative. The health condition of all those under surveillance is stable. A 24X7 control room is operating in the state headquarters.