The West Bengal government on Monday extended the restrictions placed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic till July 15, but allowed certain relaxations for the operation of public transport.
“Government and private buses, autorickshaws and e-rickshaws will be allowed to operate with 50% passengers,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, adding that such vehicular movement would be allowed with the vaccination of drivers and regular sanitisation of the vehicles. Local trains and Metro services would remain suspended in the State till July 15.
The Chief Minister said offices could open with 50% of its strength and after the vaccination of its staff. “All bazaars and markets can open from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. All other shops can stay open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” Ms. Banerjee said.
Banks could remain open between 10 a.m. am to 2 p.m. on working days, she added.
The Chief Minister said the discharge rate of COVID-19 patients in the State had increased to 97%. So far, around 2.12 crore persons had been vaccinated, she added.
Ms. Banerjee said certain political parties were not adhering to the COVID-19 restrictions in place and steps would be taken against them under the Disaster Management Act.
When the pandemic was at its peak, the number of daily cases in the State was 22,000. This has dropped to 1,800 now, she added.
Breaking her silence on the fake vaccination scam, the Chief Minister said the person behind it was “worse than a terrorist”. Debanjan Deb, 28, had posed as an IAS officer and organised fake vaccine camps in the city and its adjoining areas. Mr. Deb and three others have been arrested on various charges, including cheating and forgery.
“I have spoken thrice to the Kolkata Police Commissioner about this. A Special Investigation Team [SIT] has been set up. Strong action will be taken and no one will be spared. We are also monitoring the patients [persons who were injected with the fake vaccines],” Ms. Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister urged the public to stay away from “such cheaters”.
She also added that Trinamool Congress MP Mimi Chakraborty, who had brought the racket to light, was unwell and that she had spoken to her.