Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday announced that public spaces such as cinema halls, gyms, and swimming pools in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur, Pimpri Chinchwad and Pune will be closed from Saturday till March 31 in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic, The Hindustan Times reported. All schools in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad areas that are not conducting class 10 and class 12 examinations will also be closed till further notice.

Speaking in the Maharashtra Assembly, Thackeray said the government has invoked the Epidemic Disease Act with effect from midnight. “Wherever possible, companies should allow employees to work from home in view of coronavirus threat,” he added. He also asked people to practice social distancing and avoid visiting malls, restaurants and other public spaces.

Apprising the House about the situation, Thackeray said 17 persons have tested positive for coronavirus in the state till now. Out of these, three cases each were reported from Mumbai and Nagpur, while ten were reported in Pune. One person was tested positive in Thane, he said.

The Union health ministry on Friday confirmed 81 cases of the novel coronavirus. Out of these, three people in Kerala have recovered, and one man in Karnataka has died due to it. Of the remaining cases, 64 are Indians, 16 Italians and one person is a Canadian national. However, according to officials in state governments, there are reports of 87 patients in India.

The Madhya Pradesh government has also ordered a closure of all cinema halls till March 31, PTI reported. The Congress-led government announced that all state-run as well as private schools will remain closed until further notice.

All state-run and private schools in Punjab have been shut till March 31. However, examinations will be held as per schedule. Other states such as Karnataka, Bihar, Delhi and Chhattisgarh have also announced the closure of schools and public spaces to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.