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Goa Imposes Section 144 Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Warns Against Rumours on Social Media

A beach in Goa. (Image for representation)

A beach in Goa. (Image for representation)

Section 144 of the CrPC is in effect in both Goa districts to prohibit movement of more than four persons together.

Panaji: The Goa government on Saturday imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) across the state to prohibit large gatherings in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters here, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said section 144 was imposed in the morning.

The state government has also issued an order banning inter-state transport, except for the supply of essential commodities, from Saturday night onwards, he said.

Private vehicles may be allowed to enter the state only after the passengers are thoroughly screened, he added.

Goa shares borders with Maharashtra and Karnataka, where several people have tested positive for coronavirus infection.

Private events, including weddings, are also banned till further orders, the minister said. Health authorities have imposed several restrictions at the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital, including suspension of visiting hours, Rane said.

The health department will issue a show-cause notice to a private hospital, which had refused to admit a patient with symptoms of coronavirus infection, Rane said.

"The hospital's licence would be suspended, if it does the same thing in future," he added.

The state government has also decided to crack down on those who forward fake messages about the pandemic, the minister said, adding that cases will be registered against such offenders.

The orders issued by the District Magistrates of North Goa and South Goa district has also warned of action against

spreading of rumours related to the coronavirus "through mass and social media without its proper verification and also through instances of misreporting in the newspapers which has led to doubts and panic in society" potentially leading to incitement and violence.

The coastal state, which witnesses a heavy footfall of foreign tourists, has not reported a single positive case of coronavirus so far.

first published:March 21, 2020, 12:42 IST