Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today announced short term plan for three months followed by mid and long term plans for combating Covid-19 for striking a balance between life and livelihood.
In the last 24 hours, 110 new cases and eight deaths due to Corona were recorded in the state taking the total cases to 2,173. Twenty-five per cent of Corona patients have recovered. The containment zones are being divided into grade A, B and C based on the spread of infection.
Nothing is allowed in zone A, relaxations will be offered in zone B only if social distancing norms are followed, and in zone C, some services would be allowed. Police will give suggestions on the relaxations during the next three days following which a final decision will be taken, said Banerjee.
The A B C zones will come into effect from 21 May, she added. “We don’t think that the situation arising out of Covid19 will improve immediately. Even Prime Minister had told that we have to continue with the virus,” said Banerjee.
Buses and taxis within the district can be allowed, and in some cases, even interdistrict buses can ply, but transport minister Suvendu Adhikari will decide tomorrow, she said. Buses are allowed in green zones, and in Kolkata 13 buses are already plying. Government buses are plying with 20 passengers, and private buses can run their buses with 20 passengers and decide their fares accordingly.
Banerjee allowed the opening of jewellery, paint, electronic, electrical and mobile shops. Take away facilities will be allowed in hotels from 12 to 6 p.m. The bidi and tea gardens have been allowed to run with 50 per cent instead of 25 per cent workforces. Work will immediately start in construction, PHE, irrigation, PWD, fisheries and other key sectors.
Television industry will run partially with its editing, dubbing and mixing facilities being operation while shooting will remain stalled. Banerjee said that eight more trains had been scheduled to bring back migrant workers. Health secretary moved out State government has transferred Health Secretary Vivek Kumar to the Environment Department and appointed Narayan Swaroop Nigam as the new health secretary. Kumar’s transfer to the Environment Department as secretary comes days after a row over the state’s Covid-19 data, said official sources.
Kumar was appointed as health secretary in December last year, replacing Sanghamitra Ghosh.
Nigam, who was the Transport Secretary, has been appointed as Kumar’s replacement, as per a notification dated 11 May. Prabhat Kumar Mishra was appointed as the principal secretary of the Transport Department with the additional charge of the Water Resources Investigation and Development Department and Director of the Accelerated Development of Minor Irrigation.
Sources at Swasthya Bhaban felt that Kumar faced the wrath of the chief minister who also holds the health portfolio because he was firmly against the government’s alleged attempt to fudge the number of Covid-19 deaths and affected patients in the state. On 30 April, Kumar wrote to the Union Health Secretary and said that the total coronavirus cases reported in Bengal were 931.
The letter was sent on a day when the state health department had put the figure at 744. As the letter became public and the BJP IT cell started tweeting about it, accusing the Bengal government of allegedly fudging the data, the state sent out a Whatsapp message that said his figures were incorrect.