West Bengal extends COVID lockdown for 15 days, allows Metro Rail on weekdays

Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal on Wednesday extended the ongoing restrictions until July 30 in view of the warning of experts about a possible third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic by August or September. The Chief Minister, while announcing the lockdown extension in the state, also announced certain relaxations, with conditions. 

As per the latest government notification, Metro Railway services are allowed to resume operations with 50 per cent seating capacity on weekdays.

Local train services, however, will continue to remain suspended except for staff special trains.

All public buses, taxis, autorickshaws have been permitted to operate at 50 per cent capacity.

Offices, both government and private, are also allowed to function with half the manpower.

Gymnasiums and beauty parlours can also operate with 50 per cent strength from 11 am to 6 pm.

Only 50 people will be allowed to attend social gatherings such as weddings.

Vegetable markets can remain open from 6 am to noon, the order said.

The restrictions, imposed on May 16, were last extended till July 15.

On July 13, a West Bengal official urged people to stay cautious in view of the possible third wave of COVID-19. “Though the pandemic situation in the state has improved a lot, withdrawing the restrictions completely might still be risky. Nearby states like Tripura and Odisha and even Bangladesh have reported a surge in cases. Therefore, we need to be extra cautious,” he said. 

He said that warnings by experts regarding a possible third wave will have to be considered as well before coming to a decision on lifting the restrictions.

The state on Tuesday reported 863 fresh cases and 17 more fatalities.

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