Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday advised people in the state to avoid crowded places in an effort to stop the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), and listed other measures to combat the pandemic. She made the remarks at the “Khel Samman” sports award ceremony organised by her administration at Netaji Indoor Stadium here.
Banerjee cautioned people against panicking. “Please don’t start thinking that you are affected by coronavirus if you start coughing,” she said. “That is a common symptom of any flu. But take precautions and if there is a high temperature for a prolonged period get yourself treated by a doctor.” The chief minister said people who think they have the virus should go to Beliaghata Infectious Disease Hospital here.
“So far, I know no medicine has been discovered to cure Covid-19 but experts are suggesting a 14-day rest period at home in case of high temperature, not shaking hands with anyone, and keeping five-metre distance from a person during a conversation,” Banerjee said. “I am no expert, but some people are saying if the mercury rises, it [coronavirus] can be controlled to a great extent. Let’s see.”
The chief minister asked people to take precautions for the next month or two. “Avoid human contact for some time,” she added. “Replace handshake with namaskar, and maintain distance with any person you are interacting with.”
The Trinamool Congress chief said the “Khel Samman” programme could not be cancelled as it had been planned long before the pandemic. Almost 10,000 people attended the event at the 12,000-seater stadium, according to an officer of the state sports and youth affairs department. The event was held to felicitate prominent sports personalities, and distribute grants to about 26,000 clubs across the state. Sports Minister Aroop Biswas and Minister of State for Sports Laxmi Ratan Shukla also attended the event.
“But we are curtailing today’s programme,” Banerjee told the audience. “Sports and games cannot be stopped from happening. But we have to organise them in a smaller form, with precaution, keeping everyone’s safety in mind.”
Later in the evening, the chief minister convened a meeting with different sports bodies and clubs, and said no sports events would be held for the next 15 days. She urged the All India Football Federation to reschedule next Sunday’s I-League match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.
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