KOLKATA: The West Bengal government on Monday decided to go ahead with three days of complete lockdown in September, clearing the air over the issue after Unlock 4 guidelines asked states to take the Centre into confidence before imposing any local shutdown outside containment zones.
CM Mamata Banerjee said there will be a complete lockdown in the state on September 7, September 11 and September 12. Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said the lockdown will be extended in containment zones in Bengal till September 30.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, in a recent notification, had said as part of Unlock 4 that comes into force from Tuesday, states cannot impose any local lockdown outside containment zones without prior consultation with the central government.
The order issued by Sinha also said lockdown will be extended in containment zones in West Bengal till September 30.
Schools, colleges, cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks and theatres will remain closed till the end of September, while gatherings and congregations would also be prohibited till that time, it said.
However, medicine shops, pharmacies, courts, fire and emergency services, and electricity, water and conservancy services have been exempted.
In addition to the relaxations permitted outside the containment zones, Metro Rail service will be allowed to resume in a graded manner from September 8, the order said.
Open air theatres can also reopen from September 21.
On the three days of total lockdown in the state, all government and private offices and commercial establishments will remain closed, and there would be no public and private transport service in operation.
Containment zones will be demarcated by district authorities with strict perimeter control and enforcement of measures as per the standard protocol, the order said.
District magistrates on assessment of local situation may enforce stricter containment measures in their districts, it addedd.
Meanwhile, The discharge rate of COVID-19 patients in the state rose to 82.49 per cent after 3,318 patients recovered from the disease on Monday, a bulletin released by the health department said.
On Sunday, the discharge rate was close to 82 per cent.
So far, 1,34,270 people have recovered from the disease in the state.
The state's coronavirus caseload went up to 1,62,778 as 2,993 new cases of infection were registered in the state on Monday.
The death toll due to the disease also mounted to 3,228 after 52 fresh fatalities were reported, the bulletin said.
The number of active cases is now 25,280.
Of the 52 casualties on Monday, 41 were due to comorbidities where COVID-19 was incidental.
Thirteen of the fresh fatalities were recorded in North 24 Parganas district, 10 in Kolkata, nine in South 24 Parganas and four each in Nadia and Hooghly districts, the bulletin said.
The remaining 12 deaths were reported from several other districts.
North 24 Parganas also registered 447 new cases, while 444 people from Kolkata and 316 others from Paschim Medinipur district tested positive for the contagion.
Altogether 42,239 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, while 18,87,635 such tests were conducted in the state till date, the bulletin said.
Meanwhile, plasma collection for treating coronavirus patients started at Malda Medical College and Hospital on Monday, state government officials said.
Bars allowed to reopen
The Mamata government has also allowed bars in the state to reopen from Tuesday by following social distancing and other COVID-related protocols.
An order issued by the Excise Department on Monday said that services have to be kept within the stipulated hours of opening of the outlets.
Restaurants serving liquor can do so by allowing only 50 per cent of total occupancy at a time and following all COVID-19 guidelines, it said.
The Excise Directorate said those serving liquor at their clubs, canteens and other places will have to inform the government prior to restarting services.
Modalities to resume services yet to be finalised: Kolkata Metro .
The modalities to resume Metro Railway services in Kolkata are yet to be finalised, its general manager Manoj Joshi said on Monday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued 'Unlock 4' guidelines under which Metro services will be allowed to resume services from September 7 in a graded manner.
Modalities for running the services have not yet been finalised and discussions in this regard with the state government will be held after the standard operating procedure (SOP) is issued by the ministry concerned, he said.
"After SOP is issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs as indicated in the MHA order, we will approach the state government to discuss the modalities," Joshi told PTI.
In an order, the West Bengal government said that Metro Railway services will be allowed in a graded manner from September 8.
The West Bengal government had earlier written to the Railway Board, seeking resumption of Metro and suburban train services in a limited manner, maintaining the norms of physical distancing, and health and hygiene protocols.
In the letter to the chairman of the Railway Board, West Bengal Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay urged that before the resumption of services, required modalities and logistics to ensure smooth operations may be worked out in consultation with the state government.
The Metro Railway, Kolkata has been holding trial runs of its rakes for maintenance of rolling stock, signalling systems and other facilities to keep them ready as and when services are allowed to be restarted, an official said.
In a bid to encourage social distancing when it resumes service, the Metro Railway has introduced an online system of recharging smart cards, according to the official.
(With PTI Inputs)