Representative image: AFP
The West Bengal government on April 30 imposed lockdown-like curbs to reduce the pace of COVID-19 transmission. The restrictions will come into immediate effect and would continue till further orders.
All shopping complexes, malls, beauty parlours, cinema halls, restaurants, bars, sports complexes, gyms, spas and swimming pools shall remain closed, as per the order issued by the Chief Secretary.
Home deliveries and online services shall, however, remain permitted, the order clarified.
"All social, cultural, academic and entertainment-related gatherings and congregations shall remain prohibited," it added.
The Bazaars/hats will remain open only during 7-10 am in the morning and 3-5 pm in the afternoon.
Essential services like medical shops, medical equipment shops, grocery, would not be subjected to restrictions.
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The restrictions have been imposed two days before the counting of votes in West Bengal. The Election Commission of India (ECI) had, in an order issued earlier this week, banned all kinds of victory processions in view of the COVID-19 situation.
The state government's order reiterated that all activities related to electoral counting processes "will be guided by the guidelines already issued by the ECI"
"Unnecessary congregations in the neighbourhoods of counting halls will also be discouraged and restricted and will have to abide by the physical distancing norms and other COVID-appropriate behaviour. It has to be ensured that crowding/ loitering near the counting venue is averted," it further added.
Any violation of these curbs imposed by the state government will be liable to be proceeded against as per provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other provisions under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
West Bengal, which witnessed assembly polls in eight phases stretching from March 27 to April 29, is now emerging as one of the severely hit states due to the COVID-19 second wave. The state reported 17,403 fresh cases, highest in a single-day so far, on April 29. A total of 89 deaths were also reported in the corresponding period.