West Bengal announces fresh COVID-19 curbs; local trains suspended, restricted timings for markets and shops
Kolkata: In view of the high number of COVID-19 cases in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday fresh restrictions in the state.Banerjee told a virtual press briefing that all markets, retailers and standalone shops will now function only from 7 am to 10 am in the morning and from 5 pm to 7 pm in the evening.Further, the movement of local trains will be suspended starting tomorrow (May 6). State transport, including the Kolkata Metro, will function at only 50 per cent capacity.“Looking at the COVID-19 situation, we have to take some steps,” Mamata announced, adding that the wearing of masks has been made mandatory in the state.State government offices will now function with only 50 per cent attendance. For private offices, work from home has been mandated for 50 per cent of the staff.Shopping complexes, gyms, cinema halls, beauty parlours etc have also been ordered shut. Banks have been allowed to operate from 10 am to 2 pm while jewellery shops can remain open from 12 pm to 3 pm.Home delivery of food will be encouraged by the authorities, the CM further said.There will now be a ban on social and political gatherings as well, the CM announced, days after Assembly Elections concluded in the state.The state government also made it mandatory for ait travellers to carry RT-PCR negative reports.“From May 7, nobody will be allowed to arrive at airports without RT-PCR negative report not older than 72 hours. Those who will be positive, they will be sent to 14-day quarantine, arranged by airport authority with the state government,” the West Bengal CM said.“Random checking will be done in inter-state buses. RT-PCR negative report not older than 72 hours is mandatory for such passengers. The ruling is also applicable to the passengers of train services,” she added.Banerjee, meanwhile announced that hawkers, transporters and journalists will be given priority as far as administering the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is concerned.The West Bengal CM today also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought free-of-cost COVID-19 vaccines for all. In the letter, she also urged the PM to ensure adequate availability of essential drugs such as Remdesivir amid rising demand.“On COVID management, I request for adequate vaccines as well as oxygen supply, hospital beds, essential drugs and free vaccination for all. We require at least 10,000 doses of Remdesivir and 1,000 vials of Tocilizumab every day,” the CM wrote.