KOLKATA: Normal life came to a grinding halt in the city on Friday as a complete shutdown was enforced across West Bengal for the second consecutive day this week to stem the spread of COVID-19 cases, while violation of the lockdown restrictions was witnessed in some towns and rural areas in the state.
Incessant overnight rain owing to a low-pressure system that continued this morning also forced people to stay indoors in the city and most other places in south Bengal.
All public transport, government and private offices, banks and other commercial establishments, barring those dealing with essential services, were closed due to the lockdown.
Flight operations in and out of the Kolkata international airport were suspended for the day, while long- distance trains were also rescheduled.
Essential services like medicine shops and health establishments remained open as these were kept out of the purview of the complete shutdown.
Petrol pumps are also allowed to remain open on the lockdown days.
Security has been tightened to enforce the lockdown and police personnel were seen patrolling major traffic intersections in Kolkata.
Violation of the shutdown norms was, however, witnessed in some towns such as Canning, Cooch Behar, Malda and Durgapur as some shops in these areas were seen open in the morning.
In several district towns, police personnel were seen checking papers of those vehicles that were out on the streets despite the restrictions.
A complete lockdown was also enforced across the state on Thursday.
At least 2,687 people were arrested from across the state, 541 of them in Kolkata, on the charge of violation of the lockdown guidelines and safety precautions.
A total shutdown was earlier imposed in West Bengal on July 23, 25 and 29 and August 5 and 8.
There will be a complete lockdown on August 27 and 31.
West Bengal's COVID-19 caseload mounted to 1,29,119 on Thursday with the highest single-day spike of 3,197 infections, the state's health department said.
The death toll in the state rose to 2,634 after 53 people succumbed to the virus since Wednesday, it added.
Meanwhile, a senior officer of Kolkata Police died due to COVID-19 on Friday, taking the total number of its personnel succumbing to the virus to nine, officials said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Uday Shankhar Banerjee, in his mid 50s, died at a private hospital here in the early hours, they said.
Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma expressed grief over his demise and described Banerjee as a "corona martyr".
"Extremely saddened to share the news of untimely demise of an outstanding Officer ACP (Central Div) Uday Shankar Banerjee who was under treatment in hospital due to COVID-19. TeamKP stands by the family of the deceased Officer #Sad #CoronaMartyr #RIP," Sharma said on Twitter.