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WB confirms community transmission; complete shutdown for two days every week

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on July 21, 2020

Civic authorities carry out sanitisation across 25-odd containment zones in Kolkata Friday morning. West Bengal has reimposed a strict lockdown from July 9 onwards in a bid to arrest a fresh spike in Covid infections. - Debasish Bhaduri   -  Debasish Bhaduri

The West Bengal government on Monday confirmed community transmission of Covid-19 in some areas and announced a complete lockdown for two days every week.

West Bengal is the second State after Kerala to confirm community transmission of the virus.

For this week, the lockdown will be imposed on Thursday (July 23) and Saturday (July 25).

Covid cases in Bengal has been increasing for some days now, with nearly 2,300 fresh cases being recorded on July 19 (the last update). Kolkata and the adjoining district of North 24 Parganas are amongst the worst hit.

“There are a few places in the State where community transmission of Covid-19 has been detected. After talking to experts, doctors, enforcement authorities, and the police, we have decided to impose complete lockdown for two days every week in the entire State to break the chain (of transmission),” State Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, said.

The decision was taken following a high-level meeting that was chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

All offices, transport services will be shut down on those two days, the State Home Secretary maintained.

Banks have also been advised to follow a five-days-a-week format with Saturday and Sunday being holidays. Working hours on other days will also be curtailed between 10 am and 2 pm.

The West Bengal government is also planning to set up Covid-19 units at every private and state-run hospital. A directive to improve infrastructure and accommodate separate units for patients has already been issued.

Of the 11,239 State-run Covid facilities available in Bengal, over 7,000 are vacant mostly across districts.

Hospital space in Kolkata and North 24 Parganas continue to be stretched.

Of the 2,222 beds in State-run / requisitioned facilities in Kolkata, the vacancy level stands at 22 per cent (or 484 beds); while in North 24 Parganas – the second hotspot in Bengal - the vacancy level is a high 66 per cent. Of the available 864 beds, 570-odd are vacant.

In private sector, the vacancy is barely 10 per cent (across the two districts out together) or there are just 190 vacant beds (including isolation beds) across 1,904 allotted.

Of the total 38 premier hospitals treating Covid patients, over half of them have no space.

Published on July 20, 2020

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