The West Bengal government has announced a partial shutdown in the state amid the massive surge in coronavirus cases. While shopping complexes, beauty parlours, cinema halls, sports facilities and spas will remain shut, markets will be allowed to function for only five hours every day – 7-10 am and 3-5 pm.
Restaurants, bars, gyms and swimming pools will remain shut, the state government said, adding home deliveries and other online services will be permitted.
All social, cultural, entertainment and academic gatherings have been banned.
Pharmacies, shops selling medical equipment and grocery shops are exempted from the partial lockdown.
Counting for the eight-phased Assembly elections will take place on May 2. The state government has said all anti-Covid rules will have to be followed at the counting centres.
The daily surge of coronavirus reached a new high in Bengal on Thursday, with the state logging highest-ever 17,403 fresh cases.
The number of fatalities was also the highest, with 89 deaths recorded in a day. The positivity rate has climbed from 6.79 per cent ten days ago to 7.81 per cent.
The unprecedented coronavirus surge hit the state amid mega election rallies addressed by the top BJP and Trinamool leaders.
India on Friday reported highest-ever 3,498 deaths in 24 hours amid the more dangerous second wave of coronavirus infections. The country also logged 3,86,442 Covid cases, which is the biggest spike since the start of the pandemic.
India has been recording more than 3 lakh daily coronavirus cases for several days. The massive caseloads across the country have triggered severe shortages of hospital beds, medicines and life-saving oxygen.
The Madras High Court last week pulled up the Election Commission for not being able to enforce anti-Covid rules during election rallies.
The Election Commission has said candidates will have to carry either Covid-negative test reports or vaccination (both doses) certificates to enter counting centres on Sunday.