West Bengal Lockdown: Hours after announcing a state-wide biweekly lockdown till August 31, the West Bengal government Tuesday withdrew the order for August 2 and August 9 following appeals on lifting restrictions on dates coinciding with festivals and important community occasions.
In a bid to arrest the rising Covid-19 cases in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier announced an extension of the biweekly lockdown till August 31. Besides, the lockdown in containment zones had also been extended till August 31.
Addressing media persons in Nabanna, Banerjee said, “We are extending the two-day lockdown every week in the state, which was in force till July 31, till August 31.” Schools and colleges will remain closed till August 31, but if the situation improves then, from September 5, they can be opened on alternative days, she said.
According to the Union Health Ministry, West Bengal has reported 1,411 deaths and over 60,000 cases. Read in Bangla
Biweekly complete lockdown in West Bengal:
July 29, Wednesday
August 2, Sunday
August 5, Wednesday
August 8, Saturday
August 9, Sunday
August 16, Sunday
August 17, Monday
August 23, Sunday
August 24, Monday
August 31, Monday
However, exceptions have been made for religious festivals and national holidays such as Bakri Eid, Rakhshabandhan, and Independence Day. “We will not do any lockdown this week because of Bakri Eid. We want the minorities to cooperate and avoid any gatherings. I request them all to celebrate indoors,” Mamata Banerjee said.
Banerjee further said the state has amped up its testing facilties amid rising cases. “We have been testing more and more. We have 56 labs but within that, there are 30 big labs. Sixteen thousand plus tests are happening daily, so reports are coming that way,” she said.
“Bengal is sensitive because a lot of medical tourists come here. We cannot refuse anyone. We have developed infrastructure,” she added.
The Chief Minister said, “Eight senior IAS officers will observe eight districts with high cases. It’s a COVID infrastructure augment team.”
She also urged the media to flash COVID helpline numbers and ambulance and telemedicine 24×7 on TV.
The CM said the state government has added eight districts to the list of COVID sensitive zones, taking the total number to 13. Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, and Hoogly were already in the list.
The state government’s move comes after it had admitted to community transmission of the coronavirus in some areas of the state. During the lockdown, all government and private offices, commercial establishments, public and private transport will remain closed.
Only movement related to health services, pharmacies, police stations, courts, correctional services, fire and emergency services, electricity, water and other utility services will be allowed.
In the lockdown days last week, the Airports Authority of India suspended all flights at the Kolkata and Bagdogra airports after a request from the state government. Flights have also been be suspended on Wednesday when total lockdown will be observed.
The government had earlier banned all the passenger flights to Kolkata from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Nagpur and Ahmedabad till July 31.
The Eastern Railways has also cancelled special trains that were scheduled to originate from or arrive at some stations in West Bengal on Wednesday.
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