KOLKATA: Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, the West Bengal government on Friday ordered that all shopping malls, cinemas, gyms, spas, beauty parlors, sports complexes, swimming pools, bars, and restaurants in the state be shut for an indefinite period with immediate effect. The government has restricted the operations of other commercial establishments other than those providing essential services.
The government has also prohibited all social, cultural, academic, and entertainment-related gatherings.
“Bazars will remain open only during 7-10 am in the morning and 3-5 pm in the afternoon,’’ the order said. Medical shops, shops selling medical equipment, grocery, etc will function as usual.
West Bengal recorded 17,411 fresh Covid-19 positive cases on Thursday. The state also registered its highest single-day Covid-19 deaths with 96 people succumbing to the disease, the health department said in a bulletin. Of the fresh fatalities, 28 were reported from Kolkata and 20 from North 24 Parganas district, the bulletin said. In the last 24 hours, 13,932 recoveries were registered in West Bengal.
Activities related to the electoral counting processes and victory rallies will be guided by the Election Commission protocols, the order said. “The restrictions will be in place till the administration reviews the situation again,” a senior official said. Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides action under Section 188 of the IPC.
The West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) on Friday said that board exams for Class 12 students, in a departure from the norm, would be held at their respective schools in June, on account of rise in Covid cases.