While people wait for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the Nation for the second time at 8:00 pm on Tuesday to curb the spread COVID-19 virus, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced in the afternoon that the lockdown in her State would continue till the 31st of March.
On Sunday while the country observed a ‘janta curfew’ called by Prime Minister Modi, Mamata had announced a lockdown in West Bengal from the 23rd of March 5:00 pm which would continue till the 27th of March. This has now been extended by four days, after West Bengal reported its first death on Monday -- a 57 year old man who had travelled to Italy.
Mamata urged people not to play cricket on the streets and maintain social distancing. “I have heard that a lot of people are standing close to each other and buying essential goods. I am begging you with folded hands, please maintain distance. Put some protection on your face. Even in banks, please don’t do that, it will create a problem. If one is infected, it will infect more," said Mamata Banerjee who also says people should quarantine themselves if they have come from outside. The country. Overseas travellers have been asked to be under quarantine for 14 days.
On Monday, the state government also said that people found loitering on the streets or travelling from one place to another without a valid reason, would be made to pay a fine of Rs.1000 or spend 6 months in jail. Since Monday, around 255 violators across Kolkata were booked by Police, for being out on the streets. People are only allowed to step out to buy essential products like groceries, visit the bank or ATMs. People working under the essential services sectors like telecom, internet services, a section of government employees, media professionals will be exempt from the lockdown.
Mamata also appealed to corporates and individuals to come forward and donate for the fund to tackle the corona virus outbreak. “We are poor, we are making a fund. Anyone who wants to contribute, please do. We have told the Prime Minister too,” said Mamata Banerjee who, despite the cash crunch, has announced an assistance of Rs. 1000 for people belonging to the unorganised sector such as daily wage earners.
Mamata also visited government hospitals across Kolkata on Tuesday and met the superintendents like RG Kar, Calcutta Medical College, SSKM and Hospital and Beliaghata ID hospital. The West Bengal Chief Minister who also holds the health portfolio, handed out masks and santisers to hospitals and took stock of their preparedness when it came to handling COVID-19 patients.