Covid-19 restrictions extended in Bengal till June 15: Mamata

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(Eds: Adds details) Kolkata, May 27 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday extended the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions till June 15, saying that the curbs have helped ease the pandemic situation.

The West Bengal government had announced the existing restrictions for 15 days from May 16 following a huge surge in the number of coronavirus cases.

The announcement for extension of the curbs came three days before they were scheduled to come to an end.

'The Covid-19 restrictions in the state will continue till June 15. This is not a lockdown or a curfew. We will strictly follow the restrictions.

'It's a relief to see that the ongoing restrictions have helped in easing the situation a little,' Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat 'Nabanna'.

Essential services will continue operating following protocols, the chief minister said adding that all the ongoing restrictions would continue till June 15.

'We will see that the state's economy is not disturbed,' Banerjee said.

She allowed the jute industry to work with a 40 per cent workforce in place of the existing 30 per cent following rising demand for jute bags from Punjab.

Banerjee also said that work in the construction sector could be allowed provided labourers are vaccinated by companies for whom they work.

'Construction companies must arrange for inoculation of labourers to carry out works,' she said.

'We have already started vaccinating hawkers, vegetable vendors, fish sellers, rickshaw drivers, bus conductors and drivers,' she said.

The chief minister also asked the health department to carry out vaccination camps in markets of the state.

During the period of restrictions, all government and private offices, shopping complexes, malls, bars, sports complexes, pubs and beauty parlours will remain closed.

Only the essential service sector such as healthcare, law and order, courts, jail, power, drinking water and media would be allowed to operate.

Movement of private vehicles, taxis and auto-rickshaws will be prohibited except to and fro hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic centres, clinics, vaccination centres and airports.

Local trains, intra-state bus services and inland water transport services will remain closed.

All intra-state movement of trucks and goods carriers shall be closed except those relating to medical supplies, oxygen and essential food commodities.

E-commerce home delivery services of all commodities shall be allowed.

The state government has decided that petrol pumps, auto repair shops, LPG gas offices and distribution centres and ATM booths will remain open, while banks will operate from 10 am to 2 pm.

Sweetmeat shops will be allowed to open between 10 am to 5 pm while jewellery and saree shops may operate from noon to 3 pm.

All gatherings - administrative, entertainment, political, cultural, and religious - shall be prohibited during this period.

Tea gardens will be allowed to operate with 50 per cent workforce in each shift. PTI SCH NN NN

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