Precautionary steps at popular tourist spots in WB amid

coronavirus threat Kolkata, Mar 15 (PTI) Amid the growing coronavirus threat, authorities of different tourist destinations in West Bengal on Sunday initiated a host of precautionary measures, including disallowing mass gatherings and temporary closure.

Authorities at Belur Math, headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, on Sunday decided not to allow gatherings inside the math premises even during the regular 'sandhya arati', a senior official of the institute said.

'The devotees coming to the Belur Math will be asked to offer obeisance at Ramakrishna Temple and come out. During the evening 'arati', the devotees will not be allowed to sit together inside the temple,' an official of the Mission told PTI.

The devotees may stand in front of the big display screens to witness the evening 'arati', he said.

Meeting with the President Maharaj has been suspended and no 'mantra-diksha' will be held until further notice,' he said, adding that the distribution of 'prasad' for devotees has also been discontinued.

The ISKCON authorities have also decided not to allow mass gatherings inside the 'Radha Govindaji Mandir' in the city and also in the temple in Mayapur.

'There was a huge gathering during the recent Gaur Purnima festival. We have issued an advisory note to the residents not to hold any public gatherings. We have advised them to watch the temple programmes through online,' Subroto Das, head of communications at ISKCON, Mayapur, said.

The Victoria Memorial and the Indian Museum have been closed for public from Sunday till March 31 in the wake of the coronavirus scare.

'We have decided to close the museum inside the Victoria Memorial for public programmes based on the health ministry's advisory. The garden, however, will remain open for visitors,' an official of the Victoria Memorial said.

Visitors at the Nicco Park were on Sunday allowed entry only after washing their hands with sanitisers.

Several private gymnasiums and swimming pools suspended their daily activities till March 31 as a precautionary measure to prevent spread of the disease.

The Kolkata Police from Sunday started awareness drive about COVID-19 in different parts of the city.

Starting from metro railway stations, policemen went to shopping malls and tourist spots and urged people to take precautions against the disease, a senior officer of Kolkata Police said.

The enforcement branch of the Kolkata Police has been conducting raids at various medical shops in the city to check for hoarding of masks and sanitisers amid the novel coronavirus scare.

The West Bengal government on Saturday had issued a notification asking all educational institutions to remain shut till March 31 in the wake of COVID-19 threat. PTI SCH BDC BDC