India has recorded over 90,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, and on Sunday the consequent lockdown was extended for the fourth time. But even as people are being urged to stay at home and practice social distancing, not everyone has that option.
As essential service personnel continue to work, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) on Sunday issued a circular stating that BEST buses to ply on May 18 and thereafter to facilitate the movement of essential service personnel. A section of the trade unions have warned against the same, but the BEST circular ignored naysayers. The circular on Sunday confirmed that from Monday onwards, buses will ply normally for essential service providers.
"Buses will ply normally as per routine on Sunday. There are rumours being spread about discontinuation of service, however theses are not true" reads the circular.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, many BEST staffers have tested positive for the deadly virus. As The Free Press Journal's Pratip Acharya reported, as of Friday, the total number of BEST employees who have tested positive for the virus has crossed 100.
The first COVID-19 case was reported on April 4 and within a month the number of cases has risen to 108. The total number of deaths among BEST staffers now stands at seven.
Earlier on Sunday, the Centre announced an extension of the pan-India lockdown till the end of May. According to the new guidelines, restrictions have been relaxed greatly in the green, orange and red zones.
In the containment zones within red and orange zones however, only essential services are to be permitted.
(With inputs from Pratip Acharya)