Bengal CM Mamata asks people to avoid public gathering, including sporting events

A formal announcement about the India-South Africa cricket match at Eden Gardens scheduled on March 18 match will be made after a meeting, she says

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday urged people to avoid all public gathering, including sporting events. Speaking at an event where she was supposed to give away the Khel Samman Awards, Ms. Banerjee asked authorities to wind up the event at the earliest.

Ms. Banerjee emphasised that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in its advisory had suggested that it must be ensured that “no public gathering takes place”. “We have a number of international events. We will have to do what others are doing,” she said referring to the India-South Africa cricket match at Eden Gardens scheduled on March 18. The Chief Minister said that a formal announcement about the match will be made after a meeting in the evening. The Cricket Association of Bengal has stopped the sale of tickets.

Along with the cricket match, Ms. Banerjee’s comments suggest that I-League Kolkata derby featuring East Bengal and Mohun Bagan at the Salt Lake stadium on Sunday may be conducted behind closed doors.

During the event at Netaji Indoor Stadium, the State government was supposed to distribute cheques to 26,000 clubs in the State that organise different sporting activities. The Chief Minister asked the club authorities not to queue up at the stadium and said that the cheques would be handed over to them by the local police stations. While Ms. Banerjee, maintained that there was no reason for panic, she said that precautions would have to be taken for over two months.

Four patients in isolation

Meanwhile, four people, including three Indians and a Peru national, have been kept at the State’s referral hospital for infectious diseases ID Hospital, Beleghata. Anima Halder, principal of the hospital, said that an Italian couple and a Thai national were kept in isolation there till Friday morning. They were discharged after their samples tested negative, she said.

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