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Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Bengal extend lockdown

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: May 30, 2020 23:57 IST
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Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal on Saturday announced the extension of lockdown in their states to contain coronavirus.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the lockdown will be extended till June 15, while Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced the extension of lockdown till June 30.

The West Bengal government extended the lockdown up to June 15 with relaxations and conditions.

The Centre on Saturday issued fresh guidelines relaxing the nationwide lockdown, the fourth phase of which ends on May 31.


Madhya Pradesh

Speaking to students from 10 districts through video-conference, Chouhan said, "Schools would reopen after June 13. But the final decision on this would be taken after some days because we are going to extend lockdown till June 15."

"(Because) We also have to deal with coronavirus," Chouhan said while telling the children about the precautions they need to take to protect themselves from the virus.

The chief minister informed that the government has transferred a total of Rs 145.92 crore into the accounts of 66.27 lakh students.

The money is in lieu of mid-day meals for students which at present can not be served due to lockdown and closure of schools.


Though experts have advised against opening of hospitality services and shopping malls in the state, the chief minister said his government will take into account the Centre's guidelines for lockdown 5.0.

The countrywide lockdown in containment zones has been extended till June 30, while hospitality services, hotels and shopping malls will be allowed to open from June 8, the Union home ministry said.

Singh announced his decision after an on-ground assessment of the COVID situation through a video conference with health experts and cabinet ministers Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Balbir Singh Sidhu and Tript Singh Bajwa, according to a government release.

During his weekly Facebook live session, the chief minister said the threat of COVID-19 was not over yet and if necessary, he would continue to take tough measures to save the lives of people.

Underlining the need to exercise extreme caution, he lauded citizens for following all health norms to help the state government in containing the spread of the disease to a great extent.

He directed Bharat Bhushan Ashu to ensure distribution of face masks along with ration kits among the needy and poor.

Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said wearing masks was being strictly enforced across districts and so far more than Rs 1 crore fine has been collected from offenders.

During the meeting, the chief minister sought an update on the state government's plan for deployment of COVID-19 foot soldiers to track and trace infections.

Asha workers are being hired to undertake door to door surveillance across districts and they will be paid Rs 2 per head for every household surveyed, he said.

The state government will also launch a mobile application to trace symptomatic cases who are not self-reporting to health authorities.

In his Facebook session, the chief minister said people not reporting to health authorities was a big challenge as it complicated their contact tracing and endangered lives of others.

Though there is an overall decline in the number of cases being reported daily, the fresh cases in the last few days are a matter of concern, he added.

Singh said 36,820 people have been fined for not wearing masks and 4,032 persons for spitting in public from May 17 to May 28.

Regarding rapid testing kits, Singh said those received by the state from China and South Korea had to be returned as they were defective.

On the crackdown on units manufacturing spurious liquor during the lockdown, the chief minister said 97 illegal 'bhattas' had been sealed, with 1,729 FIRs registered and 1,360 persons arrested.

The government was also taking stern action against those trying to smuggle liquor into Punjab, he added.

West Bengal

'Government of West Bengal has decided to extend the lockdown for another two weeks i.e. up to 15/06/2020 with further relaxations with conditions,' an order from the state government stated.

The order stated that indoor and outdoor activities related to TV and cinema production, barring those for reality shows, including for web-portal and OTT platforms, with not more than 35 persons per unit at a time would be allowed with effect from June 1.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Friday announced a slew of relaxations, including reopening of shrines from June 1 and functioning of state government offices with 70 per cent staff in attendance from the second week of June.

The state government also allowed reopening of operations in hotels, restaurants, besides opening of shopping malls from June 8.

The government order asked the authorities and owners of private institutions to ensure that social distance norms and health hygiene protocol are strictly followed, as any violation will lead to withdrawal of the relaxations.

'Norms of social distancing and health hygiene protocol must be strictly followed. Management committees, trustee boards, governing bodies and owners of private institutions, organisations and establishments shall be responsible for compliance of the stated norms and guidelines,' the order stated.

Any violation in compliance of norms of social distancing, health protocol and not wearing of masks may lead to the withdrawal of relaxations provided herein as well as attract penal action as per law, it warned.

The state government, which had on Friday announced full operationalisation of the tea and jute industry, also allowed total attendance in micro, small, medium and large industries including mining activities from June 1.

It also allowed construction activities with 100 per cent of the strength of workers from Monday.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.