Coronavirus: Haryana govt shuts all schools till Mar 31

Chandigarh, Mar 15 (PTI) The Haryana government on Sunday shut all schools, cinema halls and clubs in the state till March 31 as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.

Haryana's Home and Health Minister Anil Vij said a ban had also been imposed on holding political, cultural and social gatherings or sports events that attract a crowd of more than 200 people with immediate effect.

Both government and private schools across the state will remain closed till March 31, Vij said, adding that the decision was taken after a Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar held a meeting with senior officials including those from the health department.

However, students will appear for their board/annual/assessment examinations as per schedule, Vij said.

On Friday, the Department of School Education had ordered the closure of all government and private schools in five districts of the state including Gurugram, Sonepat, Rohtak, Jhajjar and Faridabad till March 31.

So far, no one has tested positive for the virus in Haryana.

The samples of a 29-year-old woman from Gurugram, who returned from Malaysia and fell sick, have been sent to the National Institute of Virology, a senior health official from Gurugram said on Sunday.

About the measures taken by the health department to prevent spread of infection, Vij said all districts have been attached with a nearby medical college so that ventilators can be made available at a short notice if the need arises.

'In all districts, buildings have been identified for quarantine purposes and over 1300 beds have been reserved for isolation,' he said.

The state's AYUSH department will hold 100 health camps from Monday wherein free medicines will be distributed among people to boost their immune system.

The Haryana government had on Thursday declared the coronavirus an epidemic.

Neighbouring Punjab too had on Saturday ordered closure of all cinema halls and banned public gatherings including cultural events till further orders.

The Punjab government had also declared holidays in all government and private schools in the state till March 31 as a precautionary measure.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his Haryana counterpart have assured the people of their respective states that there was no need to panic as all measures were being undertaken to prevent the spread of the infection. PTI SUN VSD RHL