Image for representational purposes (Photo Credit: File Image)
Amid global outbreak of COVID-19, the Indian army on Friday postponed all recruitment rallies by a month and has also asked its personnel to travel only for essential duties. The Punjab government has also closed all Chandigarh schools till March 31. The students will attend school only to appear for exams. However, all teaching and non-teaching staff members will attend the school as usual till further orders.
Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C P Joshi on Friday adjourned the House till March 26 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. As soon as the House passed Finance Bill and Appropriation Bill by voice vote, Joshi announced the adjournment. “As you all know that the entire country is worried about coronavirus. The Centre has issued an advisory in this regard and the chief minister has also highlighted the matter. Keeping (this) in view, the House is adjourned till March 26,” the speaker said.
The number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 81 on Friday. This includes a 76-year-old man from Karnataka who became the country’s first coronavirus fatality and 17 foreign nationals, Health Ministry officials said. Cases of the infection have been reported from at least 11 states and territories, including Delhi, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Kerala, where three patients were discharged last month after they recovered.
The entertainment industry is also witnessing a severe loss due to the global outbreak of coronavirus. With theatres in parts of the country under lockdown, shootings stalled and promotional events and interviews on hold due to the spread of coronavirus, the television and film industries are facing huge losses.
Following in the footsteps of Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi, Karnataka and Mumbai on Friday closed malls, gyms and cinema halls to contain the virus that has been declared a pandemic by the WHO.
It is hard to quantify exactly how much money is at stake but theatres in Delhi alone may incur a loss of Rs 2 lakh to 10 lakh in the coming 10 days without earning a single penny, said film distributor Joginder Mahajan, who is also the general secretary of the Motion Pictures Association in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
"Delhi has about 150 screens, which will stay closed till March 31 as directed by the government. Everybody is facing losses because even if you don't run the theatre you have to pay salaries and electricity bills.
"A theatre shutdown like this is unprecedented though there have been strikes in the past. Cinema halls were also closed for three-four days in 1984 during the riots. It is hard to estimate the losses now but there are many indirect expenses," he said.
According to trade pundits, a big Bollywood movie spends anywhere between Rs 15-20 crore on its promotion and a medium or small budget movie somewhere around Rs 5 crore. Akshay Kumar-starrer "Sooryavanshi", which recently launched its trailer with much fanfare, has pushed the release of the film indefinitely. And "Angrezi Medium", starring Irrfan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Radhika Madaan and Deepak Dobriyal, is braving the panic around the virus spread by going ahead with its release.