No plan to lockdown any Maha city: CM on coronavirus outbreak

PTI
Tuesday, 17 March 2020

"The first coronavirus case was found in the state a week back so this is the start of the second week and hence we need to be extremely careful, said Uddhav Thackeray.

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said the state government has no plans to enforce a lockdown of any city in view of the coronavirus situation, but asked people to avoid thronging temples, mosques, churches and other public spaces.

Maharashtra had 39 novel coronavirus (Covid-19) patients as on Monday evening.

The government has also decided to postpone all ongoing exams in the state, Thackeray told reporters at his official residence Varsha in south Mumbai.

The next 15 to 20 days are important for the state as far as containment of the coronavirus spread is concerned and people should be extra vigilant on this aspect, he said.

There should be no crowding at religious sites in view of the novel coronavirus threat, though worship there may continue, he said.

The infection had not spread in the first two weeks, but there has been a significant rise in the third and fourth week.

"The first coronavirus case was found in the state a week back so this is the start of the second week and hence we need to be extremely careful, said Thackeray.

Highlighting that the coronavirus is spreading in multiples in various parts of the world, he said in New York and Iran only two people were infected by the virus in the first week.

However, New York had 613 cases by the third week, while Iran reported 12,500 cases in the fifth week, he said.

There should be no crowding at religious sites in view of the novel coronavirus threat, the chief minister said.

"The coronavirus has spread all over the world. There is hardly any country in the world that is not yet under the coronavirus threat. This is a global challenge now, said Thackeray.

According to the Chief Minister, his government has not made any decision to stop rail and bus services and also regarding the closure of hotels though malls have been shut down.

Whatever we are doing is in the interest of citizens. I am sure people will observe self-restraint. It is not correct to make rules for everything, he said and pleaded with people to avoid unnecessary travel.

The entire government machinery is well prepared, but I appeal citizens not to panic, he said.

Thackeray said he called a meeting of secretaries and senior officials, and asked them to not only focus on stopping coronavirus spread but suggest steps for overcoming impact of the outbreak on the state's economy.

The Maharashtra CM said there should be uniformity in the steps taken to disinfect trains and buses in the state.

He said the government will also paint a suburban and an outstation train with instructions on how to prevent and fight the deadly viral infection.

Advertisements will be put on state transport (ST) buses and we are not going to leave any space without advertisements, he said.

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