West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced a number of restrictions to contain the COVID-19 surge in the State, including suspending all local train services and reducing metro services and State transport services by half.
Hours after taking oath as the Chief Minister, Ms. Banerjee convened a meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the State. She said that the attendance of government employees was being reduced to half, and that private establishments should also follow the same and encourage working from home.
Ms. Banerjee also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding universal vaccination for all, and said that there should be a transparent vaccine policy.
“The main issue which we highlighted in the letter to the PM is that there is no transparency in the policy for oxygen , medicines and vaccines. Oxygen from our State is being taken away and we are not getting enough vaccines,” she said.
Ms. Banerjee said that all social and political gathering was prohibited, and only cultural events and weddings could be held with prior permission, and the not more than 50 people would be allowed. Markets are allowed to function from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“From 7th May onwards, no flight will be allowed in Bengal without all the RT-PCR negative tests for all passengers. We are seeing fake certificates also, so random tests will be done. If any passengers are affected by Covid, they will be quarantined and arrangements have to be made by airport authorities,” she said.
Passengers travelling in long distance trains will also have to produce RT-PCR negative reports, Ms. Banerjee said. She said that the State was not going into a complete lockdown, but these additional restrictions were necessary to check the spread of the pandemic.
Reshuffle in bureaucracy
The CM announced a reshuffle in the top police establishment in West Bengal. She said that Virendra, Director General of State Police, and Jawed Shamim, Additional Director General (Law and Order), were transferred before the model code of conduct was imposed and would be reinstated to their respective posts.
“I have instructed the SPs (Superintendents of Police) that no incident of violence will be tolerated. We are seeing there is more violence in areas where the BJP had won earlier. Some sporadic incidents have occurred but the BJP is spreading a lot of fake, old videos,” she said.