The Goa government has issued instructions for closure of schools, colleges, pubs, movie halls, public swimming pools, spas, boat-cruises and casinos till March 31, in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced on Saturday. The Goa government has kept midnight for the closure deadline.
The announcement comes following the invocation of the Epidemic Act last evening. For now, the government has allowed malls and restaurants and any eating place like hotels, allowing open places to remain open.
Sawant also has asked tourists, both domestic and foreign to not visit Goa for tourism, and asked to refrain from taking holidays in the beach capital as a precautionary measure. The state is also moving to buy more thermal scanners to be installed at the airport, local ports and railway stations.
“We are also advising people not to travel unnecessarily and not conduct meetings with large gathering. Hotels with weddings venues have also been urged to make sure that mass gatherings are avoided,” Sawant added. The only exception for now is the CM allowing organisers of the ongoing Shigmo, a hindu religious festival to take decision on public floats and carnivals.
“Local organising committees can take their own decisions. Many committees have said that only locals visit the festival (therefore it should be allowed). It is up to them,” Sawant said. Though he added that any other religious mass gathering which can be avoided should be delayed or postponed till the pandemic outbreak scales down.
“When we say mass gatherings, they (religious bodies) should stop it. Hindus Muslims, Christians should stop mass gatherings. This is our appeal,” Sawant added.
The CM has also urged political parties against organising mass campaign gatherings for to the March 22 Zilla Panchayat polls, in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Further, hand sanitisers were being procured to be given to the State Election Commission to be placed in polling booths and counting stations across 50 voting constituencies.
“I urge all political parties not to hold large gatherings in wake of the coronavirus outbreak,” Sawant said. “We are taking all precautions for elections. Our Health Secretary and State Election Commissioner are in touch. We are purchasing hand sanitisers to be provided to polling booths and counting centres. During elections itself, sanitisers and masks will be provided to the polling staff,” Sawant added as he spoke of the elections.
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