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COVID-19 curbs extended till August 30 in West Bengal

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The West Bengal government on Thursday extended restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic till August 30.

While the State government relaxed the existing night curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 p.m. from the existing 9 p.m. to 5 p.m., it has not taken any decision on the resumption of local and suburban trains. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that so long as half the population remains unvaccinated, it would be unwise to allow local trains services to resume.

“I understand that people are facing difficulties and have grievances as the local trains have not been resumed. But people will have to suffer a little more. If we are able to vaccinate 50% of the population then we can resume the local train services,” Ms. Banerjee said, announcing the extension of the protocols. Ms. Banerjee said the State government was being cautious given the possibilities of the third wave, which according to experts may impact the health of children.

While the Metro services have been resumed in the city, local train services are still not fully operational. Lakhs of passengers from districts of Howrah, Hooghly, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas use local train services to come to Kolkata, but since the services are not available, many are unable to resume work or business.

Earlier the State government had allowed cinema halls to operate with 50% capacity.

The Chief Minister said the COVID-19 situation in the State is under control with the number of daily infections ranging from 600 to 800.

“The case positivity ratio which had shot up to 33% at the end of the eight phase elections has come down 1.5%. We are administering 3.5 to 4 lakh vaccines daily, but the problem is that we are not getting enough vaccines,” the Chief Minister said. Ms Banerjee added that State government has so far been able to administer 3.32 crore doses of vaccines.

The Chief Minister also announced the release 73 life convicts in an attempt to decongest the prisons. The 73 convicts include 66 men over 60 years and seven women above 55. A few days ago, the State government had announced the release of 63 other life convicts to decongest prisons of the State.

Meanwhile along with the demand of resumption of local trains, students have also been protesting demanding that physical classes be allowed in the universities.

For the third consecutive day on Thursday a section of students and professors of Kolkata’s Jadavpur University held classes under open skies on the main road in front of Gate Number 4 of the University. The students sat on the road as vehicles passed by while the teacher took a microphone to give the lessons. All educational institutions including universities are closed in the State. Ms Banerjee said schools can open after the Durga Puja on alternate days.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 8:00:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/covid-restrictions-extended-till-august-30-night-curbs-relaxed-in-west-bengal/article35875333.ece

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