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West Bengal govt announces complete lockdown from May 16-30

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on May 15, 2021

File photo of Kolkata during a lockdown   -  PTI

On May 14, Bengal reported 20,846 active cases and 136 deaths

In view of rising Covid cases and an immense shortage of beds across hospitals, the West Bengal government on Saturday announced a 15 day complete lockdown (till end of this month).

Bengal is amongst the 12 states that cumulatively account for 80 per cent of the country's active caseload, the Union Health Ministry had said.

Most private healthcare facilities have practically run out of beds and is struggling to cope up with increased case loads.

Restrictions

Announcing "stricter guidelines" that will come into effect from tomorrow, Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said all offices - government and private sector - will remain closed during this 15-day-period.

Factories, other than those producing medical equipments, oxygen, food items and essentials will remain closed. Tea gardens shall remain operate at 50 per cent capacity in each shift; and jute mills will operate at 30 per cent of total shift strength.

Schools, colleges and educational institutions shall remain closed while banks will operate from 10 am to 2 pm.

Intra-state and public transport which include local train movements, operation of Metro railways, waterways and bus services will remain suspended.

Restrictions have also been imposed on movement of private vehicles except for those coming to and from hospitals, vaccination & diagnostic centres, clinics and nursing homes.

Restriction on Movement of people and vehicles have been imposed between 9 pm and 5 am.

Parks too shall remain closed other than for maintenance services.

Markets and grocery shops will remain open for a 3 hr window, between 7 am and 10 am. There will however be no restrictions on e-commerce services and deliveries.

Shopping malls, pools, gyms, sport complexes and cinema halls will remain closed.

Gatherings of all form has been prohibited.

Relaxation has been given to medicine shops & spectacle stores, while sweetmeat shops will operate between 10 am and 5 pm. Jewellery shops too will operate between 12 noon and 3 pm.

"Stricter restrictions and measures are being brought in to control the spread of the virus and reduce the pressure on health infra. These will be a review at the end of this month," Bandopadhyay said.

Deadly Second Wave

Bengal is facing a deadly, more brutal second wave, with over 20,000 infections being reported on a daily basis over the last few days. Deaths too have been on the rise.

On May 14, Bengal reported 20,846 active cases and 136 deaths with the active cases shooting up to approximately 1,32,000.

A more worrying trend for the state, say epidemiologists, is the high Test Positivity Ratio or TPR. Over the last many weeks, the state's TPR has been around the 30-33 per cent mark (or one out of every three persons tested here is Covid positive), this despite a substantial ramp up in testing to over 70,000 per day.

Kolkata and North 24 Parganas are the two worst hit districts with TPR being as high as 50 per cent. New districts like Howrah, Hooghly and South 24 Parganas are witnessing a spurt in cases again.

West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee's younger brother Ashim Banerjee, succumbed to Covid-related complications. He was 60 and was admitted at a private hospital in the city.

Published on May 15, 2021

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