- All schools, colleges and theaters closed in Delhi till March 31
- 6 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Delhi so far
- India’s first coronavirus death, 76-year-old man from Karnataka
The Delhi government has banned all sporting activities and events, including Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches, until further notice “for the purpose of prevention and control of the outbreak of the epidemic disease, COVID-19”.
“We appeal to people to fight this together. Right now, social distancing is the best solution. We have asked all District Magistrates and Sub-District Magistrates to follow all orders from the Health Department,” Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters today.
The ban is specific to sports events that will see gatherings of 200 people or more, and comes a day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government ordered the closure of all schools, colleges and cinema theatres in the city till March 31. The government had shut primary schools earlier this month; secondary classes were left open in view of exams.
There have been six confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Delhi so far, where it has been declared as an “epidemic”.
As the virus spreads and fears over infection grow, the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the national capital has suspended all classes.
A similar ban on sports events, including the IPL, has already been enforced by other states.
Maharashtra, where 11 cases have been reported, has banned ticket sales for the opening match of the 2020 IPL season that was to have been held on March 29.
The Indian national cricket team has also been affected – the final two matches of the One Day International (ODI) series against South Africa will be played in empty stadiums. The first of these will take place on Sunday in Lucknow and the second in Kolkata on March 18.
Meanwhile, late Thursday night, the Union Health Ministry confirmed the India’s first COVID-19 linked death – a 76-year-old man who had returned from Saudi Arabia last month.
Seventy-five cases of COVID-19 infection have been confirmed by the Union Health Ministry so far, including 17 foreigners in isolation in Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. More than 11 lakh people have been screened at airports across the country.
As part of its response, the government has shut borders to existing visas – except diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment and project – till April 15.
The COVID-19 outbreak originated in a food market in China’s Wuhan district in December last year and has, so far, killed more than 4,500 people while infecting 100,000 more.
The World Health Organisation has declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, meaning it has spread worldwide and affected huge number of people. In a series of tweets, the WHO said it was “deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity (of the virus), and by the alarming levels of inaction”.