Within five days, Bengal government yet again revised the dates for a bi-weekly complete lockdown in the state to tackle the Covid pandemic and finally decided to enforce it on seven days in August ~ 5 (Wednesday), 8 (Saturday), 20 (Thursday), 21 (Friday), 27 (Thursday), 28 (Friday) and 31 (Monday).

“Several requests and appeals have been received from different quarters to relax complete lockdown on certain days which are coinciding with some festivals and local community- based customs,” stated a notification issued by the state chief secretary Rajiva Sinha this evening.

“Now, given the requests received and in due consideration of the public sentiment, in partial modification of aforesaid order, it is hereby informed that the statewide complete lockdown shall now be observed on the following days: Wednesday 5 August; Saturday 8 August; Thursday 20 August; Friday 21 August; Thursday 27 August; Friday 28 August and Monday 31 August,” the order further added.

On 29 July, the state government had revised dates for the complete lockdown three times in six hours and ultimately decided to enforce it on seven different days in August ~ 5, 8, 16, 17, 23, 24 and 31. It may be recalled here that chief minister Mamata Banerjee had held two different press conferences on Tuesday to announce the lockdown dates and had said that complete lockdown would be enforced on nine days.

However, at around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, the state home department tweeted that the lockdown will be on seven days instead of nine following “requests from several quarters”. The multiple revisions have already attracted criticism from the Opposition parties who had accused the state government of “appeasement” and “incompetence.”

According to sources, the state government was requested not to enforce the lockdown on 16, 17, 23 and 24 August as Parsi New Year is on 16 August and a host of other festivals including Manasa Puja that is observed grandly in Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram and Midnapore and a festival of Marwaris coincide on these days.

Only the essential services will be allowed during the lockdown along with medicine outlets and petrol pumps. All the other shops, government and private offices, commercial establishments and public and private transport will remain closed on the lockdown days. Domestic flight operations from Kolkata airport and long-distance trains would remain suspended on these days.

Fifty three people died due to Covid-19 in the last 24 hours which is the highest single-day death that has been recorded in the state till now while 2,716 fresh cases were recorded today.