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Coronavirus update: All theatres in Delhi to remain shut till 31 March

In view of the growing incidence of the coronavirus pandemic, Delhi's chief minister has issued an advisory to shut down all theatres in the national capital till the beginning of April.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Image for representational purposes only

Our Correspondent

With the world battling the growing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the Delhi state government has made a public announcement to close down all cinema halls in the national capital region (NCR) till 31 March.

This makes Delhi the second state government in India to take such a decision, following a similar decision by the Kerala state government earlier this week.

The decision was announced late on Thursday by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in view of the growing number of people being infected by the virus in India. The Delhi government has also declared the coronavirus threat an 'epidemic'. 

The ANI news agency quoted the chief minister as saying that all cinema halls in Delhi will remain shut till 31 March, along with schools and colleges. However, schools and colleges that are set to hold examinations will function for the duration of the tests.

The shutting down of cinema halls in Delhi follows upon the heels of a similar decision in the southern state of Kerala, which has reported the largest number of coronavirus infections in the country so far.

The Kerala government requested production studios to accede to the shutting down of cinema halls till the end of March. The Kerala Film Producers' Association announced that halls would be shut till Monday 16 March, after which a governmental review would decide whether to extend the closure.

Delhi's decision is likely to affect several upcoming releases, including Rohit Shetty's Sooryavanshi and Kabir Khan's 83. The production houses are already in discussions over whether to delay the release of the two films. With Delhi and the NCR being a major territory for Hindi films, the shutdown might precipitate the decision. Sooryavanshi, starring Akshay Kumar, is slated for release on 24 March. Khan's 83, starring Ranveer Singh, is due for release on 10 April.

The number of infected people in India has risen to 73 as of Thursday. With countries like Italy, Denmark and Ireland announcing lockdowns, it is natural for Indian governments also to take measures to ensure curtailing of the viral pandemic.

The Union external affairs ministry has also reccomended the cancelling of several sports events, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), to avoid contamination and spread of the virus through large public gatherings.

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