Bengal extends COVID curbs till July 15 with relaxations

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(Adding detail) Kolkata, Jun 28 (PTI) The West Bengal government on Monday extended the COVID-related restrictions till July 15, announcing certain relaxations, including allowing offices, government and private, to function with half the manpower.

Addressing a press conference, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said public buses will be permitted to operate in the state with 50 per cent capacity.

Government and private offices would also be allowed to function with 50 per cent workforce, she said.

Earlier, only 25 per cent attendance in the government as well as the private offices was authorised.

'We have decided to extend the ongoing restrictions till July 15 after giving relaxations to certain services. We are allowing state-run and private buses, autorickshaws, totos to operate will 50 per cent capacity', Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.

Gymnasiums and beauty parlours can also operate with 50 per cent strength from 11 am to 6 pm, she added.

Social gatherings such as weddings would be allowed with a maximum of 50 people, Banerjee said, urging people to continue wearing masks and maintaining social distance.

The government also allowed vegetable markets to remain open from 6 am to noon, she said, adding that Banks will remain open as per the earlier timings.

The restrictions, imposed on May 16, were last extended till June 30.

Stressing that wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing remained mandatory, Banerjee said that at social gatherings like weddings a maximum of 50 people would be allowed, like earlier She said that at least 2.12 crore people in the state have been inoculated in Bengal as the positivity rate has declined to 3.3 per cent.

Talking about when trains and metro rails will start operating, Banerjee said, 'the situation is yet not favourable to run them.' On whether any decision has been taken by her party Trinamool Congress to organise the July 21st Martyr's Day Rally this year, Baneree said, 'We are yet to decide anything on it.

'Since the lockdown is on and it will continue till July 15, we will still have six days left for it. We will decide and let you know.' PTI SCH SNS SNS

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