India’s health minister has called on the government to declare a national holiday to mark the first day of the Lunar New Year, after reports of an outbreak of the coronavirus.
The Minister of State for Rural Development, Rural Development and Urban Development (MDRUD), Rajiv Mehta, told a news conference in New Delhi that a nationwide state holiday to commemorate the first of February could be announced as early as this week.
The announcement of a national state holiday would “strengthen our resolve to fight this pandemic and put an end to the crisis”, Mehtas said.
A state holiday is a common feature of celebrations during Lunar New Years, but the official announcement of one has not been made.
Mehtam said it was a matter for government officials to decide and that no decisions had been made for the upcoming state holiday.
The pandemic has seen more than 2,000 deaths in India and hundreds of thousands of people in the country infected.
The Indian government has said the coronovirus has no known link to human activity.
However, the coronavalve virus has been found to be carried by people in close contact with sick people, which may also be contributing to the outbreak.
India’s health ministry says there have been more than 1,000 confirmed coronaviruses in India in the past 24 hours, including two new coronaviral infections.
The first case of the virus was detected in a rural district in Gujarat on Sunday, which is home to more than 200,000 people, according to the health ministry.
It is unclear if the second case was found in the same district.
Mehta said that the coronvirus was not being transmitted from one individual to another, adding that the country needs to be prepared to protect the countrys people.
The first case was reported in a small town in Maharashtra state in southern India, where residents were given masks on Sunday and are being tested for the virus.
Mehyat Rao, a local health officer, said at least five other cases have been detected in the state.
In another outbreak, two patients have tested positive for the coronvalve in an isolated village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.