West Bengal CM Gets Strict With Covid-19 Protocol; All Local Trains Suspended, Rules Out Complete Lockdown

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Concerned over rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday has announced suspension of all local trains from May 6 besides taking several restrictive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

She, however, ruled out any possibility of complete lockdown in West Bengal.

Soon after sworn-in as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the third straight term, Mamata Banerjee chaired a high-level meeting to handle the pandemic situation and decided to suspend local trains from May 6.

Not the least, she also announced that from May 7 onwards RT-PCR negative report (72 hours prior) is must for all passengers to enter Bengal through Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport and at Bagdogra Airport.

She also asked concerned officials to be extra vigilant amid reports of fake negative RT-PCR certificates found in possession of some passengers and urged people to maintain Covid-19 protocol strictly in the State.

The Chief Minister announced a vaccination drive for people working in the transport sector, hawkers and journalists will be initiated on a priority basis because they came in contact with a maximum number of people because of their job profile.

As per the latest order norms of physical distancing and health hygiene protocol must be strictly followed. Any violation in compliance of norms of physical distancing, health hygiene protocol and wearing of masks shall attract penal actions as per law.

"All government offices, local transport (private and government buses), private offices, metro railways will function on 50 per cent occupancy. The retail outlets will function daily from 7am to 10am and 5pm to 7pm. All jewellery shops will be allowed to function from 12 noon to 3pm. There will be no restriction on online and home delivery of food items," she said, while adding that the banking sector will be functional from 10am to 2pm.

All the emergency and essential services will remain outside the purview of restriction.

All shopping complexes, malls, beauty parlours, cinema halls, restaurants and bars, sports complexes, gyms, spas, and swimming pools will remain closed.

All social, political gathering, cultural, academic, entertainment related gathering and congregations shall remain prohibited. However, essential services like medical shops, medical equipment shops, milk supply, will remain open.

"Sanitisation of market places, educational institutions, office premises are mandatory and we will once again revive the Covid-19 warrior clubs in all the districts to assist us in this pandemic situation," the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to ensure adequate availability of essential drugs such as Remdesivir and Tocilizumab amid rising demand due to surge in Covid-19 cases.

"Considering the severity of the matter, I would like to request you to kindly look into free vaccination as universal immunisation for all in a transparent and time bound manner. At present, vaccine availability is too inadequate to provide to eligible beneficiaries and the government of India direction to extend vaccination up to 18 years plus makes it unrealistic to achieve. So, supply of vaccines is the core issue to address now," he letter to Prime Minister Modi reads.

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