Coronavirus scare: Haryana shuts down cinemas, all schools till March 31

Chandigarh, Mar 15 (PTI) The Haryana government on Sunday ordered shutting down of cinema halls, gyms, clubs, night clubs and all schools till March 31 as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.

Haryana's Home and Health Minister Anil Vij said restriction has also been imposed with immediate effect on gathering of more than 200 people at all social, political, cultural, religious, sports, personal or family events in the state.

Schools, both government and private, will remain closed till March 31 across the state. However, students will appear for board examinations, annual exams and assessment exams as per schedule, Vij said.

He said a decision to this effect was taken after a high-level meeting which Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar held with the senior officials to review preparedness of the health department in arresting the spread of coronavirus.

The state's Department of School Education had earlier decided that all government and private schools in five districts of the National Capital Region -- Gurgaon, Sonepat, Rohtak, Jhajjar and Faridabad -- will remain closed till March 31. The state government had on Thursday declared coronavirus an epidemic.

'All schools, cinema halls, clubs, night clubs, gyms, swimming polls and theatres will remain closed till March 31,' Vij said, adding the Haryana government has made adequate arrangements to prevent spread of the infection in the state.

Notably, none of the citizens has tested positive for coronavirus in Haryana. The samples of a 29-year-old woman from Gurgaon, who returned from Malaysia and fell sick, have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune, a senior health official from Gurgaon said on Sunday.

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

'In all districts, buildings have been identified for quarantine purposes,' he said.

The AYUSH department will hold 100 health camps from Monday in across the state and people will be distributed free medicines to help boost their immunity, the state health minister said.

According to an official statement giving details of Sunday's meeting, the chief minister directed officials that 2,500 to 3,000 beds (minimum 100 in each of the 22 districts) should be identified in the isolation wards set up in government hospitals of the state.

At present, 1,328 beds have been identified in 298 isolation wards in government hospitals. District-wise arrangement of quarantine facility has been made for 3,000 persons, it stated.

It was also decided that hand sanitisers would be kept in those government offices which people visit in large number for their day to day work. The meeting was informed that the director general of health services has been asked to inform all private hospitals in the state that their services can be availed if such a need arises.       Chief Secretary Keshni Anand Arora, Additional Chief Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Rajeev Arora, Additional Chief Secretary of Revenue and Disaster Management Dhanpat Singh, health experts from PGIMER Chandigarh and PGIMS Rohtak and other senior officers of the health department were among those present in the meeting. PTI SUN VSD NSD