West Bengal extends lockdown till July 15

29 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

KOLKATA: The West Bengal government on Monday decided to extend the lockdown till July 15, but announced several relaxations in curbs imposed to control the spike in COVID-19 cases amid the second wave, reports NDTV.  The state continues to record more than the national growth rate of active Covid cases -- 21,884 active cases were reported on Sunday.

Easing the restrictions, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said auto-rickshaws and buses can operate with 50 per cent occupancy. However, drivers must be vaccinated and strict Covid protocols need to be followed, she added. The restrictions imposed since May have been eased as the daily number of Covid cases continue to decline -- 1,836 people tested positive on Sunday, taking the overall caseload to 14,94,949, while 29 new deaths pushed the death count to 17,612 in the state.

The government said gyms and fitness centres can now function with 50 per cent occupancy while salons and beauty parlours have been allowed to open from 11 AM to 6 PM with 50 per cent seating capacity, provided the entire staff has been vaccinated.

Private and corporates offices can remain open from 10 AM to 4 PM with 50 per cent working capacity. Timings for opening of markets and shops have also been extended.

Meanwhile, Mamata said “strict action will be taken” against those involved in the Covid vaccination fraud in Kolkata, and condemned the fake vaccination camp that was earlier set up in Kasba area of the city.

The Kolkata police last week arrested a man posing as a civil servant with a master’s degree in genetics who reportedly ran as many as eight spurious vaccination camps. The police had said at least 250 disabled and transgender people were injected at one site, and that in total nearly 500 people may have been given counterfeit jabs across the city.

“No one will be spared,” Mamata said, promising action against the accused.

The incident triggered a political storm after purported photographs and videos of the arrested person along with several Trinamool leaders and ministers at various programmes came in the public domain.

The chief minister asked people to “beware fraudsters who take selfies with political leaders.”

A total of 2,95,801 beneficiaries were vaccinated in Bengal on Sunday, raising the number of those inoculated till now to 2,08,88,441, officials said.