Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today said that experts are in favour of continuing the social distancing measures till last week of May, even as she announced zone-wise relaxations that will come into effect from Monday. “The situation is not good till now.
Experts are saying that this will improve in the last week of May but may again deteriorate in the rainy months of July and August. We have to be cautious during this period. No disease can disappear suddenly. I would request people not to go outside unnecessarily and use masks,” said Miss Banerjee after holding a coronavirus review meeting with all ministers and secretaries of departments.
Miss Banerjee said that lack of clarity from the Centre over reopening shops is leaving the state government in a spot over deciding on the issue. However, some shops would be opened from Monday but if it is found that the situation deteriorates then we will immediately revoke our decision, she added. Come Monday, small shops in localities and factories in green and orange zones will be reopened.
These include electronics shops, stationary shops, laundries, hardware, mobile recharging and battery charging outlets that are located in localities. Tea and pan shops will also open but gatherings will not be allowed. Hawkers would not be allowed on the roads. In Kolkata, permission will be given to more taxis for plying with necessities. Private buses will be allowed to ply in districts that are in green zone.
These buses would have to be first sanitized and can carry a maximum of 20 passengers. “Police would conduct a survey of the local markets and identify the shops that can become operational by maintaining social distancing norms. A notification would be issued on 1 May stating the process to obtain permission for running these shops,” said Miss Banerjee. However, existing restrictions will continue in areas that have been identified as red zones in Kolkata, Howrah, North 24-Parganas and East Midnapore districts.
Miss Banerjee said that beauty parlours and saloons will remain closed. Twenty-five out of out of 45 jute mills have already been allowed to operate and 200 workers are engaged there. Tea gardens are operating with 25 per cent workforce.
All social schemes of the state will continue to run in the state, she added. The state government has come up with a social revival plan amounting to Rs 1.52 lakh crore for six months. Meanwhile, the total active coronavirus cases are currently 550 with 33 new positive cases being detected in the last 24 hours. A total of 14,620 tests have been conducted till now with 1397 being conducted since yesterday.
Again, 124 coronavirus patients have recovered till now among which five patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours. Of the total coronavirus cases that have been detected in the state till now, 88 per cent are from Kolkata, Howrah and North 24-Parganas and the remaining 12 per cent cases are from the other districts.
Data has revealed that of the affected people, 64 per cent are men and 36 per cent women. Over 50 per cent of the affected people belong to the age group of above 45 years, said state chief secretary Rajiva Sinha.