Bihar enacts more stringent COVID curbs:shops to close at 4 pm;night curfew from 6 pm to 6 am

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(Eds: adding detail) Patna, Apr 28 (PTI) Amid surging coronavirus cases, the Bihar government on Wednesday came out with more stringent restrictions, ordering closure of shops/commercial establishments at 4 pm daily while the timing of the night curfew will now be from 6 pm to 6 am.

Presently, the timing for shops/commercial establishments functioning was till 6 pm and night curfew was in force from 9 pm to 5 am.

These decisions were taken at the meeting of the crisis management group chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during the day after taking stock of the situation.

Considering the continous rise in infections, the chief minister held high-level meeting consecutively on Monday and Tuesday before going for more curbs to rein in the rampaging coronavirus.

Development Commissioner Amir Subhani and Principal Secretary Health Pratyaya Amrit briefed media persons about the revised decisions.

Bihar added 13,374 more coronavirus cases Wednesday, taking the tally to 4,41,375. While with 84 fresh fatalities the death toll has risen to 2391.

Capital Patna is the worst-hit both in terms of daily caseload and the deaths.

The state has 98,747 active cases at present.

Amrit told reporters that congregation at the marriage functions has been lowered to 50 persons from 100 now and for the last rites it will be 20 in place of 25.

Marriage parties shall be allowed to wind up by 10 pm, after which such gatherings will fall under the purview of prohibitory orders.

DJ is not permitted in the marriage functions.

There have been several auspicious dates for marriage in the ongoing April and coming month of May.

Government and private offices will be encouraged to adopt 'work from home' in a big way and workplaces will also not be allowed to remain open beyond 4 pm.

Medicine shops will be allowed to remain operational during the night curfew and restaurants will be permitted to engage in take away deliveries till 9 pm.

The fresh restrictions will remain in force till May 15 when the situation will be reviewed afresh and further decisions will be taken.

Public tranport can operate with 50 per cent sitting capacity.

Industrial units, construction work, e-commerce related jobs, health institutions, vegetables and fruits vendors and agri and related work have been kept out of the ambit of the restrictions.

Subhani said the state government will meet the cost of conduct of last rites of COVID victims and also those testing negative but having symptoms of the deadly virus.

He further said that in order to increase strength of the doctors and paramedics, walk-in interview will be held for recruitment for one year time.

He said there is no limit on numbers for the recruitment and it will be done 'as per the need'.

Subhani said policemen returning from poll duties in West Bengal and other states will be subjected to COVID test.

He said instruction has been given to further ramp up test of samples and make healthcare arrangements more robust in the state.

He said district administrations have been told to hire Ambulances for convenience of people. PTI ANW NAC SNS SNS