Covid lockdown clamped in West Bengal, restrictions extended in several states

People board a crowded bus in Nadia district in West Bengal on Saturday to leave for their native places (PTI Image)

The West Bengal government on Saturday announced a statewide lockdown from Sunday morning till May 30, although it refrained from terming it a lockdown and announced it as a modified and expanded stricture.

Some other states like Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh extended the restrictions as the national tally of active cases saw a marginal decline.

While all government and non-government establishments will remain closed, movements of trucks and vehicles carrying goods have also been restricted save those carrying oxygen, medical equipment, fish, milk and eggs and other essentials. Oil tankers, petrol pumps, automobile repairing shops and medical stores have been exempted. Movement of private and public vehicles have been barred, except for those carrying patients to and from hospitals.

Inter-state train and bus services, metro services and ferry services have been stopped.  State chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said vegetable market and groceries would remain open from 6 to 10 am but sweet shops would be allowed to stay open till 5 pm. While all mills and factories will remain closed save those which are under continuous operations, jute mills will run with 30% workforce and tea gardens with 50% in each shift.

Bandopadhyay said since a lot of people’s livelihood depends on the tea gardens and plucking takes place at considerable distances without any gathering, tea gardens will not be shut but will function with 50% workforce. Same with the jute mills. A labour intensive industry, it will not absolutely close down but will work with only 30% workforce to make jute bags for storing grains only.

Meanwhile, the Chhattisgarh government has asked authorities in all the 28 districts to extend the lockdown till May 31 even as it granted more relaxations in economic and other activities, an official said.

The lockdown, currently in force in all districts of the state, was set to end in most regions at May 15 midnight. Bihar, too, has extended the lockdown, which was to end on May 15, till May 25, while Maharashtra has already announced the continuation of lockdown-like restrictions till June.

The national capital, which is under lockdown, recorded 6,430 new cases and 337 fatalities on Saturday while the positivity rate dipped to 11.32%.

MP has imposed ‘Janta curfew’ till May 17 with only essential services allowed, while districts are authorised to extend it. Gujarat on May 11 extended the night curfew and other day-time restrictions in 36 cities till May 18. Goa has imposed a curfew from May 9 to May 24.

In South, Kerala has extended a total lockdown from May 8 to May 23. Tamil Nadu is under lockdown from May 10 to May 24. Puducherry has extended lockdown from May 10 to May 24. Telangana has imposed a 10-day lockdown from May 12. Andhra Pradesh has imposed curfew from 12 noon to 6 am till May 18.

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