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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

From Delhi to Bengal, states relax Covid-19 lockdown curbs as cases dip

While the Delhi government has given nod to construction activities and factories from May 31, the Pune district administration has withdrawn its weekend lockdown.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 29, 2021 10:42:36 pm
Streets of Delhi remain deserted owing to the ongoing lockdown. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

As Covid-19 cases across the country show a declining trend, many states that had resorted to lockdowns to combat and contain the virus are slowly opening up.

However, most governments have said the “unlock” will be in a phased manner so as to avoid crowding or gatherings that may lead to a spike again.

The streets of Pune city wear a deserted look owing to the lockdown. (Express Photo: Pavan Khengre)

Pune, where fresh infections have remained below the 3,000-mark for the last five days and the positivity rate has also gone below 10 per cent, has decided to relax its stringent restrictions by withdrawing the weekend lockdown. It has also allowed all essential category shops to remain open on all weekdays from 7 am to 11 am.

The essential-category shops include grocery stores, vegetable and fruit shops, dairies, bakeries, sweet shops and all other shops selling food items like meat, chicken, egg and seafood. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has also included optical shops and shops selling materials related to monsoon in the essential category. The category also includes shops that sell agriculture items, including seeds, fertilisers and equipment and pet shops.

The empty streets of Kolkata. West Bengal is under a lockdown till June 15 to contain the spread of the virus. (Express Photo: Partha Paul)

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, too, has said the national capital will “gradually unlock” from 5 am on Monday (May 31). Delhi has been under a lockdown since April 19 when daily cases had touched a peak of 28,000 and the positivity rate stood at 30 per cent.

Construction activities and factories will be allowed to reopen first, the Chief Minister said, while adding that new relaxations will be listed every week provided the cases continue to dip.

Delhi, in the last 24 hours, recorded around 900 fresh cases with the daily count going below the 1,000-mark for the first time in the fresh wave.

The busy Kamaraj Salai area of Chennai wears a deserted look during the Covid-induced lockdown. (Photo: PTI)

The MK Stalin-led government, while extending the lockdown in Tamil Nadu till June 7, did announce a few relaxations. Grocery shops, which were ordered to shut during the first phase of the lockdown, have been allowed to sell essentials on carts or vehicles in their localities between 7 am and 6 pm after obtaining permission from the local bodies.

“The provision stores will also be allowed to receive orders online or on the phone and deliver supplies at the customer’s doorstep between 7 am and 6 pm,” Stalin said.

The West Bengal government announced a few relaxations despite extending the lockdown across the state till June 15. “We don’t want the economy to suffer which is why we have allowed several industries to function. We have decided to allow the jute industry to operate with 40 per cent workforce instead of the prevailing 30 per cent,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.

Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh government has approved a phase-wise unlocking of the “corona curfew” restrictions beginning June 1, but the weekend lockdown will continue to be in force across the state, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Saturday.

There will be separate sets of unlocking guidelines for the places having the Covid-19 positivity rate above five per cent and below 5 per cent, Chouhan told a meeting of the crisis management groups at the village, block, ward and district level in a televised address in the evening.

The weekend curfew from 10 pm on Saturdays to 6 am on Mondays will continue irrespective of unlocking of curbs, he said. “Based on these guidelines and local Covid-19 situation and circumstances, the crisis management committees at the district, ward, block and village levels will take decisions about unlocking theirrespective areas from June 1,” Chouhan said.

Industrial activities, hospitals, nursing homes, petrol pumps, pharmacies, ration shops, agricultural activities, etc will be allowed during the unlocking phase. Taxis will be allowed to ply with two persons but they need to follow the Covid guidelines.

(With inputs from PTI)

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