Coronavirus Update: Section 144 in Goa
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Mumbai: Domestic and foreign tourists will have to defer their plans to visit Goa, which is famous for its beaches and places of worship. This is because the BJP government on Saturday imp­osed Section 144 of the CrPC in the state to prohibit large gather­ings to prevent the coronavirus spread. Tourists from other states and interstate transport except for the supply of essential commodi­ties were banned from midnight on Saturday. The decision was announced by health minister Vishwajit Rane. Section 144 of the CrPC of 1973 authorises executive magistrate of any state or territory to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of 4 or more people in an area.

As per law, every member of such ‘unlawful assembly’ can be book­ed for engaging in rioting. Incidentally, Goa, which reports arrival of foreign tourists in large numbers, has not yet reported a single positive case. The government has warned of action against those spreading rumours on social media.

Private vehicles may be allowed to enter the state only after the passengers are thoroughly screened. The move is crucial as it borders Mahara­shtra and Karnataka whe­re people have tested positive.

Health authorities have imposed several restrictions at the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital, including suspension of visiting hours. The health department will issue a showcause notice to a private hospital, which had refused to admit a patient with symptoms of the infection, Rane said.

Rane has warned that hospital licence would be suspended if they refuse to admit a patient with symptoms of coronavirus infection.

Spreading of rumours related to the coronavirus “through mass and social media without its proper verification and also through instances of misreporting in the newspapers which has led to doubts and panic in society” potentially leading to incitement and violence.

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