Amid the surge in the number of Coronavirus cases in the country, the Punjab Government has decided to shut down the public transport system in the State from March 20 (12 am), as a preventive measure to contain the spread of the virus. The State government has also prohibited public gatherings of over 20 people despite the number of cases in the State is negligible.
"Public transport, buses, tempos, auto-rickshaws have been completely banned from Friday midnight. The public gathering is reduced from 50 to 20. No large marriages or religious congregations. Marriage palaces, hotels, restaurants, indoor dinings, everything has been closed," Cabinet Minister Brahm Mohindra said while speaking with Republic TV.
The Central Government has been taking all measures necessary to combat the deadly virus. Thermal screening is being carried out on airports across the country. India has banned all foreigners from entering the country. The Ministry has deployed around 30,000 - 35,000 personnel on community surveillance keeping a close watch.
The government has also allowed private testing facilities to test patients for Coronavirus, besides the already functional government testing facilities. State governments across the country have shut down schools and other educational institutions. Malls, cinema halls, pubs, gyms, and swimming pools have also been shut down in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Also, religious and spiritual places of pilgrimage and worship such as Vaishnodevi, Shirdi's Saibaba temple and Mumbai's Siddhivinayak temple among others have been shut down.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday praised the Indian government's commitment to combat the novel Coronavirus -- a pandemic which has infected more than 2,19,000 people and killed over 8,900 globally. Speaking to reporters after holding a meeting with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Henk Bekedam, the WHO Representative to India, commended the apex medical research institute for managing to isolate the strains of SARS-Cov-2.
In view of the rapid spread of the novel Coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday will address the nation at 8 pm over issues relating to COVID-19 and the efforts to combat it. Earlier on Wednesday, PM Modi chaired a meeting with senior officials to review the ongoing efforts to contain coronavirus pandemic in India. So far, India has over 180 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and has reported three deaths.