Bengal extends lockdown till June 15; allows TV, cinema production from June 1

The state government also allowed reopening of operations in hotels, restaurants, besides opening of shopping malls from June 8.

Published: 31st May 2020 09:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st May 2020 09:12 AM   |  A+A-

Vehicles ply on Howrah bridge after authorities eased restrictions during the 4th phase of nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in Kolkata Saturday May 30 2020. (Photo | PTI)


KOLKATA: The West Bengal government on Saturday extended the lockdown in the state up to June 15 with further relaxations and certain condition, which included nod to indoor and outdoor activities related to TV and cinema production, barring reality show production, from June 1.

The announcement came ahead of the end of the fourth phase of the countrywide lockdown on May 31.

During the day, the union home ministry said the nationwide lockdown in containment zones would continue till June 30 and announced extensive relaxations, including the opening of religious places and shopping malls in a phased manner from June 8.

An order from the state government stated, "Government of West Bengal has decided to extend the lockdown for another two weeks, i.e. up to 15/06/2020 with further relaxations with conditions."

It said it is felt necessary to continue to implement the lockdown in the affected areas -- containment zones -- to contain the spread of COVID-19 effectively, and simultaneously open up activities in other areas for socio-economic revival.

The West Bengal government order stated that indoor and outdoor activities related to TV and cinema production, barring those for reality shows, including for web-portal and OTT platforms, with not more than 35 persons per unit at a time would be allowed with effect from June 1.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Friday announced a slew of relaxations, including reopening of shrines from June 1 and functioning of state government offices with 70 per cent staff in attendance from the second week of June.

The state government also allowed reopening of operations in hotels, restaurants, besides opening of shopping malls from June 8.

The government order asked the authorities and owners of private institutions to ensure that social distance norms and health hygiene protocols are strictly followed, as any violation will lead to the withdrawal of the relaxations.

"Norms of social distancing and health hygiene protocol must be strictly followed. Management committees, trustee boards, governing bodies and owners of private institutions, organisations and establishments shall be responsible for compliance of the stated norms and guidelines," the order stated.

Any violation in compliance of norms of social distancing, health protocol and not wearing of masks may lead to the withdrawal of relaxations provided herein as well as attract penal action as per law, it warned.

The state government, which had on Friday announced full operationalisation of the tea and jute industry, also allowed total attendance in micro, small, medium and large industries including mining activities from June 1.

It also allowed construction activities with 100 per cent of the strength of workers from Monday.

The Centre has given more powers to the states and union territories to ascertain and define a containment zone.

It asked the union health ministry to issue standard operating procedures for these sectors after consulting other ministries, departments and other stakeholders to ensure social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The number of COVID-19 cases in West Bengal climbed to 5,130 on Saturday after 317 more people tested positive for coronavirus, the state health department bulletin said.

Seven fresh deaths due to the disease were also reported in the state, taking the toll to 237, it said.

Six of the seven deaths were recorded in Kolkata while one was in North 24 Parganas district.

Seventy-two patients have died due to co-morbidities where COVID-19 was "incidental", the bulletin said, adding the number of active cases in the state stood at 2,851.

Of the new cases, 80 were registered in Kolkata, 42 in Howrah, 38 in North Dinajpur, 32 in Coochbehar, 30 in North 24 Parganas district and 22 in Birbhum districts, the bulletin said.

Twelve other districts also reported fresh cases since Friday evening.

The bulletin said three people from other states also tested positive for the disease.

Coochbehar district of north Bengal, which had reported no case of the COVID-19 infection till Friday, registered 32 cases after migrant labourers tested positive for the infection, it added.

These 32 migrant labourers "underwent tests a couple of days back and reports showed them to be positive for the disease.

These people are all asymptomatic and are undergoing treatment at a COVID-19 hospital in Siliguri," Coochbehar district magistrate said.

The bulletin said 195 patients were discharged from various hospitals since Friday evening, taking the total number of people who have recovered from the disease to 1,970.

At least 9,436 samples have been tested since during this period and the total number of tests rose to 1,94,397.


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