Nine Wards under the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) will come under complete lockdown from 5 pm tomorrow for the next seven days. Officials said the containment zones and buffer zones around them were clubbed to constitute a “broader” zone.

In its bid to tackle the surge in Covid-19 cases, the Darjeeling district task force for Covid-19 decided to clamp the total lockdown in Wards 2, 4, 5, 28 and 46. The decision was taken in the meeting chaired by DM, S Ponnambalam, today. On the other hand, the Jalpaiguri district administration also enforced the shutdown in Wards 37, 38, 39 and 43 under the SMC.

Jalpaiguri DM Abhishek Tiwari said 88 persons of those wards had tested positive for the virus till yesterday. Mr Ponnambalam said around 45 percent cases were reported from those wards. According to him, nothing, except emergency and essential services, will be allowed to remain open in the zones.

“The five wards will go for complete lockdown from tomorrow for seven days primarily. Those wards witnessed the highest cases of the Covid-19 so far,” Mr Ponnambalam said. He said grocery and vegetable shops will, however, remain open. The administration will review the situation in rural areas tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the market complex at the Nayabazar Wholesale Market will remain closed from tomorrow till 12 July. Deaths at NBMCH A resident of Ward 21 died in the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital last night. The person had tested positive for Covid-19. Another resident of Ward 5 died today, while the Covid report is awaited. Meanwhile, 13 positive cases were reported in the SMC area today.

Strict Malda lockdown Strict lockdown was enforced in English Bazaar Municipality (EBM), Old Malda Municipality and Kaliachak- I in Malda in the administration’s bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Police personnel were active since morning, as they closed shops and markets. On the other hand, 42 fresh cases of Covid-19 were detected last night, a majority of them in the EBM.

The office of the Divisional Railway Manager at Jhaljhalia under the English Bazaar police station was sealed this morning after a clerk and his wife were tested positive for the virus. Bista slams TMC leaders’ ‘callousness’ Darjeeling’s BJP MP Raju Bista today expressed concerns about how leaders of the Trinamul Congress in Siliguri had held meetings even when their swab samples were being tested for Covid-19 and were awaiting reports.

“I was informed that one of the TMC politicians, who is the Opposition Leader of Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad, was also tested for Covid last Sunday itself after he showed symptoms, and his test result came positive yesterday. Yet he organised a felicitation programme at Bidhannagar the same day where many local TMC leaders, block officials, health officers and police officers were also present,” Mr Bista said.

According to him, another TMC leader from the NJP area was also seen at a TMC event on 7 July, in which Tourism Minister Gautam Deb had also attended “and there was complete disregard for all social distancing norms.” “This information is baffling because I am unable to understand what these leaders were doing among the public when they were waiting for their Covid-19 test reports.

Why did they not undertake self-quarantine, if they were COVID-19 suspects and had sent their samples for testing? Why did the local administration and police force allow such huge gatherings in complete violation social distancing norms? Why are TMC leaders across West Bengal allowed to flout government guidelines and health protocols so blatantly?” Mr Bista said.