The government of West Bengal declared today that the state would be put on a near-lockdown for the next two weeks, beginning tomorrow. Both offices and educational facilities will be closed during this period in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections. The government has announced that all public transportation, including the Kolkata Metro, will be suspended.
Only emergency services will be permitted, according to the state’s notification, with supermarkets and shops selling critical goods remaining open from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., according to West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay.
Surprisingly, sweetmeat vendors will be permitted to operate between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Similarly, gas stations and banks will remain open, but only between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tea gardens will be able to operate, but only at 50% capacity, while factories are closed.
During the lockout, no cultural, political, academic, administrative, or religious gatherings or functions will be permitted in the state, and no outdoor congregations will be permitted between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., according to the government.
“At wedding functions, no more than 50 people will be required,” Mr Bandyopadhyay said.
Yesterday, the state announced 20,846 new Covid cases and 136 deaths linked to the disease. In West Bengal, the number of active cases has also increased by 1,579.
It only recently elected a new government after a lengthy eight-phase voting process that was followed by frantic campaigning. Many people believe the increase in Covid cases in the state is a direct consequence of the election, during which political parties and leaders failed to follow the pandemic protocol.