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Bengal Announces 2-day Lockdown Every Week, Covid-19 Community Transmission Recorded in Few Areas

For representation: A municipal worker spras disinfectant to sanitise a slum in Kolkata. (Reuters)

For representation: A municipal worker spras disinfectant to sanitise a slum in Kolkata. (Reuters)

The decision was taken following a high-level meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, at the state secretariat, Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said.

Amid reports of community spread of COVID-19 in some pockets of Bengal – the state government has decided to go for two-day complete lockdown every week from July 23 onwards.

The decision taken by the state government was announced by state Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay.

"We have decided to impose a complete lockdown in the state for two days/per week. This was done in the wake of an increasing number of COVID-19 cases/reports of community spread in some pockets in the state," the state home secretary said.

The total lockdown in this week will be imposed on July 23 (Thursday), July 25 (Saturday) and in the next week complete lockdown will be imposed on July 29, 2020.

Also, all banks in the state will be closed on Saturday and on Sunday as they will be maintaining five days a week. The customer services will be available in rest of the days from 10 am to 2 pm.

On July 19, 2020, the death toll in West Bengal reached 1,112 with fresh causality of 36 people recorded in the last 24 hours.

Total new positive cases reported are 2,278. Total active cases till July 19 were 16,492. Total deaths in the state so far are 1112 and Kolkata remains the largest contributor to COVID-19 cases in the state. Total number of people discharged so far are 24883 which is nearly 58.56 per cent. Total sample tested so far is 703284.

Earlier, on July 7, the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee went for a ‘rigorous’ lockdown in all the containment zones from 5 PM onwards from July 9, 2020.

However, today’s announcement was in addition to the already enforced broad based ‘rigorous’ lockdown.

The state government has already extended the parameters of the containment areas by combining the buffer zones in it to minimise the spread of coronavirus.

In this broader containment zones (including the buffer areas) may be subjected to strict lockdown, and the following activities will be closed in these areas, which includes all offices including government and private, all non essential activities, all congregations, all transportation, all marketing/industrial/trading activities.

In a previous statement issued by Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Additional Chief Secretary and Chairman of Enforcement Task Force, reads, “In terms of recent discussions and in terms of deliberations with you as well as other members of the Enforcement Task Force with regard to lockdown, I am to impress upon you to rigorously implement the containment policies and practices for combating spread of COVID-19.”

It further reads, “The current concept of containment zones may be combined with the current concept of buffer zone, and together, they may constitute a revised and broad-based containment zone approach. Residents of the containment zones may be exempted and prohibited from attending government and private offices, in fact, their ingress and egress may be strictly regulated.”

“To the extent practicable, local authorities will try to arrange home delivery to the residents staying inside the broad-based containment zones. You may now delineate your broad-based containment zones. In the case of Kolkata, Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Kolkata Police will have to do it in mutual consultation. In case of districts, DM may initiate similar exercise in consultation with respective CPs/SPs,” it reads.

Recently, Mamata Banerjee had sent a letter to the Centre to stop domestic flights till July 31, 2020 to Kolkata from those states where the number of COVID-19 cases are high.

Based on that letter, Kolkata Airport already suspended flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai, Ahmedabad from July 6 onwards.

She had also alleged that in Bengal, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased because of Centre’s poor planning while announcing the lockdown.

“Even after relaxation, they simply shrugged off the responsibility of the migrant workers and left them on roads. On one side they were shown sympathy and on other side there was no planning and they were left on roads by the Centre. Some migrants died on the train. There were not properly screened and sent to their respective states (including) without following any safety norms. Our number of positive cases was less but it was increased because of the poor planning of the Centre in sending the migrants,” she had said.

first published:July 20, 2020, 18:37 IST