Mumbai News

Coronavirus: 19th century law whipped out to shut theatres, gyms in Maharashtra – Times of India

MUMBAI: As coronavirus cases in the state increased to 19 on Friday, Maharashtra government ordered theatres, auditoriums, swimming pools and gyms in major urban centres to shut from Friday midnight till March 30, a decision on the lines of steps taken by the Delhi administration to combat the pandemic.
The decision to shutter public facilities which bring people in close contact will apply to Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nagpur. The state invoked the draconian Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, to order the closures under section 2 of the law- enacted to tackle the bubonic plague in Bombay -which allows the state to take any step necessary to control the outbreak, including forcible quarantine.
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CM Uddhav Thackeray made it clear that malls and restaurants were not being closed but visits should be curbed unless absolutely necessary. Thackeray also announced steps his government is taking for crowd control, which would apply to educational institutions. “Since the number of cases in Pune is the highest (10), it has been decided to shut schools and colleges in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad area till March 30. The ongoing 10th and 12th board exams will go on as per schedule.” He clarified that there is no need to shut schools and colleges in any other city, including Mumbai, as of now. “We are continuously monitoring the situation and a decision will be taken if the need arises,” he added.
Thackeray wanted Dubai and US added to the list of countries-Germany, Italy, France, Spain, South Korea, China and Iran- for compulsory quarantining of travellers. “All those passengers who have travelled abroad and are not showing symptoms will be sent home, but their contact details will be taken and they will be phoned two times a day to check if they have any symptoms,” he said.
Thackeray said the government cannot ask people to not take trains or buses, but advised venturing out only if absolutely necessary and appealed to major companies to allow their employees to work from home, where possible.
“We have asked event management companies to call off all types of cultural, religious, sports events which involve large people. All permissions to such events stand cancelled in the state,” said Thackeray.
Reacting to the announcements, Prakash Chaphalkar, secretary of the Multiplex Association of India, said owners were awaiting a directive. He added that anyway there were fewer people in malls and cinemas, and producers were reluctant to release their films.