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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Bengal malls & eateries closed; home centres for Class 12 exam

A senior government official clarified to PTI that vehicular movement would not be affected, adding, “The administration will review the situation every day, and further steps will be taken depending on the evolving circumstances.”

By: Express News Service | Bolpur |
May 1, 2021 11:03:39 am
Karnataka covid cases covid vaccinationHealth workers serve food to COVID-19 patients, during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Bengaluru, Friday, April 30, 2021. (PTI Photo)

Amid a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in the state, the West Bengal government on Friday announced, effective immediately, that all shopping malls, beauty parlours, cinema halls, restaurants, bars, sports complexes, gyms, spas, and swimming pools would remain closed until further notice.

The state administration also prohibited all social, cultural, academic and entertainment gatherings. Markets will remain open from 7 am to 10 am and 3 pm to 5 pm, according to the notice. However, essential services such as pharmacies, medical equipment shops, and groceries are outside the purview of the order.

A senior government official clarified to PTI that vehicular movement would not be affected, adding, “The administration will review the situation every day, and further steps will be taken depending on the evolving circumstances.”

Asked if the state administration had plans to impose a complete lockdown anytime soon, the official said “that will be our last option”. He added, “Hopefully, the restrictions put in place will be able to check the spread of the disease.”

In its order, the government said, “All shopping complexes, malls, beauty parlours, cinema halls, restaurants and bars, sports complexes and gyms, spas and swimming pools shall remain closed (even while home deliveries and online services shall remain permitted). All social/cultural/academic/entertainment related gatherings and congregations shall remain prohibited.”

It went on to add, “Bazaars/hats will remain open only during 7-10 am in the morning and 3-5 pm in the afternoon (even while essential services like medical shops, medical equipment shops, grocery, etc will remain outside the confines of the embargo.”

The Election Commission’s protocols will guide activities related to election counting on Sunday and victory rallies. “Unnecessary congregation in the neighbourhoods of the counting halls will be discouraged and everyone will have to abide by the physical distancing norms and other Covid-appropriate behaviour,” read the order.

The government warned that any person found violating these measures would be liable for prosecution under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. In addition, action would be initiated under IPC Section 188 and other applicable legal provisions.

Meanwhile, the government also announced that the annual examination for Class 11 students in schools affiliated to the state board stands cancelled this year while students will appear for the Class 12 board exams at their institutions. All Class 11 students will be automatically promoted to the next standard.

In a notification, the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) said, “Because of the current pandemic situation and other reasons, the Council has decided to cancel the Annual Examination of Class XI-2021. Head of the Institution is being requested to promote all candidates of Class XI to Class XII. The topics of the reduced syllabus of Class XI, which are related to the Higher Secondary Examination should be completed within the first quarter of Class XII.”

The WBCHSE added, “However, the Higher Secondary Examination will be conducted as per schedule published earlier. For Higher Secondary Examination 2021 the H.S. examinees will appear for the examination at their own Institution (Home Venue) and please note that the examination timings will be 12 noon to 3.15 pm in place of 10 am to 1.15 pm. The Covid situation will be closely monitored and any further decision or change in this regard will be informed beforehand, to all. We solicit the cooperation of all concerned in this regard.”

The Class 12 examinations are scheduled to begin on June 15 and continue till July 2.

(With PTI inputs)

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