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Goa to shut schools, colleges, clubs till March 31 in wake of coronavirus

However, malls, restaurants and hotels will remain open, Sawant said, adding that the directions for closure were only meant for places where people gather in closed premises.

Published: 14th March 2020 03:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2020 05:48 PM   |  A+A-

 Goa Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant held a high-level review meeting with his cabinet to discuss preparedness measures to be undertaken to curb rise of COVID-19 cases.

 Goa Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant held a high-level review meeting with his cabinet to discuss preparedness measures to be undertaken to curb rise of COVID-19 cases. (Photo | ANI)

By IANS

PANAJI: The Goa government on Saturday announced closure of educational institutes and public places including casinos, swimming pools and pubs in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the country till March 31.

The order will come into force from Sunday (March 15) midnight.

No confirmed coronavirus case has been found in the coastal state, a tourist haven, as yet.

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Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday chaired a high-level meeting which was attended by health minister Vishwajit Rane and officials.

After the meeting, Sawant announced a slew of preventive measures.

Schools and other educational establishments will be closed till March 31, while the examinations of the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education for std 10th and 12th will take place as per the schedule, he said.

Public swimming pools, cinema halls and casinos would be closed.

The order will be reviewed at the end of this month, the CM added.

While the state does not have a single confirmed case of coronavirus, one suspected patient remains quarantined at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and some 30 others are in home isolation.

On Friday, health minister Rane had informed that his department had invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1987, which empowers the government to ban mass gatherings.

Chief Minister Sawant, meanwhile, said the March 22 Zilla Panchayat elections in the state will go ahead as per the schedule, but candidates should avoid mass gatherings and indoor meetings.

The coronavirus outbreak and resultant closure of public places will have a huge impact on the tourism industry but the preventive measures are unavoidable, he said.

Among other steps, thermal guns at Goa airport would be replaced with a thermal scanner and all international and domestic passengers will be screened through the scanner to spot possible carriers of the virus, Sawant said.

Thermal scanners would also be installed at Mormugao Port Trust and the railway station.

The port has already banned arrival of cruise ships till March 31.

As wedding season is underway, Sawant adviced people to avoid huge gatherings.

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