Hours after taking oath, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a slew of fresh restrictions amid rising COVID-19 cases. Over the last two months, the eastern state has seen a massive spike in cases, from a couple thousand to over 1.2 lakh active cases as of Wednesday morning. While the state had already imposed a partial lockdown, additional curbs are now being put in place.
On Wednesday afternoon, Banerjee said that local train services were being suspended across the state from Thursday. Metro rail, and government run transport services in Bengal will now operate with 50% occupancy.
The state is also clamping down on air travel, making a negative COVID-19 report mandatory. From May 7, Banerjee said, no air passenger will be allowed inside Bengal without an RT-PCR negative report not older than 72 hours. Passengers entering Bengal via long-distance trains or inter- state buses must also carry a RT-PCR negative report.
Building upon the earlier restrictions, the Chief Minister announced that from Thursday, banks in Bengal will be operational between 10 am and 2 pm. Offices in Bengal should operate with 50 per cent workforce, she said.
The restrictions announced last week has specified specific timings during which markets would remain open, and had curtailed the number of guests allowed for social events or weddings and the like. Shopping complexes, beauty parlours, cinema halls, sports facilities and restaurants have also been closed.
(With inputs from agencies)