With more than a 14-fold rise in Covid cases in just seven days, the West Bengal government on Sunday reimposed stricter restrictions till January 15 by closing schools and colleges, limiting the workforce across offices, and restricting flights from Delhi and Mumbai.
While the curbs on flights from the two cities will come into effect from January 5, the remaining will be implemented from Monday.
Addressing reporters here, chief secretary HK Dwivedi said only essential services will be permitted to operate between 10 pm and 5 am in the state, and flights from Mumbai and New Delhi, which have both reported a large number of infections, will ply only on Mondays and Fridays.
The state has already banned direct flights from the UK till further notice.
“All academic activities in schools, colleges, and universities will remain closed. Government and private offices will continue with 50% of the workforce at a time. Local trains will operate with 50% of the seating capacity up to 7 pm,” Dwivedi said.
The state government also reimposed a night curfew, from 10 pm to 5 am. The government lifted this curfew between December 24 and January 1 in view of the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
While the hospitals reported 439 cases on December 27, the number jumped to 6,513 on Sunday. Data available with the Union health ministry indicated that Kolkata’s weekly (December 24 – 31) positivity rate stood at 23.4%.
“Even though cases have shot up, there is no need to panic. We have reviewed the health infrastructure, including hospital beds and oxygen support. There is no shortage,” Dwivedi said.
In view of the Omicron situation, the state has imposed a series of fresh coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-related restrictions. Those will be active from January 3 (Monday). Under this, all schools and colleges in the state will once again shut their gates.
Moreover, restrictive measures have also been imposed on shopping malls, market complexes, restaurants, and bars. In those, they will now allow only 50 percent of their total capacity.
Here are all details on the latest Covid-19 restrictions that the government imposed in West Bengal:
- All schools, colleges, universities, spas, salons, beauty parlors, swimming pools, zoos, and entertainment parks will remain closed in West Bengal from Monday, January 3, 2022.
- Government and private offices will operate at 50 percent capacity; all administrative meetings will henceforth ve conducted via virtual mode.
- Local trains in West Bengal will run with 50 percent capacity till 7 in the evening. No local trains will run on tracks post-7pm; however, all long-distance trains will continue running as they are.
- All tourist places in West Bengal shall remain closed from tomorrow, that is, Monday.
- The government allowed flights to Kolkata from Delhi and Mumbai will only on two days of the week – Monday and Friday.
- All religious, cultural, and social gatherings in the state will have to ensure that they only allow 50 people at the most.
- Shopping malls and market complexes may function with a restricted entry of people by not exceeding 50 percent of the capacity at a time and up to 10 pm.
- Restaurants and bars may operate with 50 percent of the capacity at a time and up to 10 pm. The same restrictions and timings hold true for cinema halls and theatres.
- Meetings and conferences will proceed with a maximum of 200 people at a time or 50 percent seating capacity of the hall, whichever is lower.
- The government allowed no more than 50 persons for marriage-related ceremonies.
- No more than 20 persons shall attend the funeral/burial services and last rites.
- Kolkata Metro services shall operate with 50 percent seating capacity as per usual operational time.
- The authority prohibited movement of people and vehicles and public gatherings of any kind between 10 pm to 5 am. The government will only permit essential and emergency services.
Announcing the aforementioned measures, the West Bengal chief secretary also instructed the respective district administrations, police commissioners, and local authorities to ensure strict compliance with the stated directives.
Any violation of the restrictive measures will be liable to proceed against as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).