Coronavirus update in India: Bengal defers civic polls; school closure extended to April 15
Photo: PTI

In the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Monday saw a lot of important announcements in West Bengal as the government rushed to put safety measures in place.

After an all-party meeting, the State Election Commission took a decision to defer the civic polls to 100 municipal corporations and municipalities which were expected be held in April. The Bar Council too has shut down all courts across the State till the 21st of March.

The West Bengal Government went into a huddle to decide on stronger measures to prevent the spread of the Corona virus. Ahead of the administrative meeting at the State secretariat, Nabanna, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was seen sanitising her hands along with other Police officials.

At the meeting it was decided that movie halls and auditoriums across the State will be shut till 31st March. Clubs too have been asked to restrict gatherings. The further course of action will be decided at another meeting on the 30th of March.

On Friday the State Government had announced that government and private schools, colleges, universities will remain shut till the 31st of March. This has now been extended till the 15th of April. Board examinations however will continue to take place as scheduled.

“Around 3.24 lakh people have been screened in Bengal, and we are keeping a close monitoring on 5,590 of them. Till now there have been no positive cases in the state. I advice all not to panic and do not believe rumours. There is nothing to be ashamed of if anyone has corona virus, it is my request to all not to hide it , if anyone has any doubt then kindly get tested,” said Mamata Banerjee.

“We are creating a Rs 200 crore fund to tackle this crisis. We have already ordered two lakh face masks, two lakh suits which are worn by those dealing with this situation and 10,000 thermal guns which are used for temperature checking. We have also decided that those who are dealing with corona situation like doctors, nurses, sweepers each individual will be given a insurance of Rs. 5 lakh,” added Mamata.

These also include BSF, CISF and other persons who might face health hazards. The West Bengal Chief Minister also appealed to private hospitals and clinics not to return patients who want to get treated and asked healthcare persons to use masks and santisers.

In a statement on Sunday, the ruling party in West Bengal, Trinamool Congress (TMC), had said that all the political parties must act together to fight the COVID-19 threat and that politics is not more important than the well-being of society.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Left Front had also said that they would ask the election body to take “pro-people” measures regarding the polls against the backdrop of COVID-19.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar also took to social media.

“ In deference to the advisory as regards to coronavirus it has been decided to reschedule all programs at Raj Bhawan and call thereof will be taken after March 31 st, 2020 . The concern will appreciate the expedient change as the step is dictated by public interest,” he tweeted.

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