West Bengal COVID-19 lockdown: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said the shutdown will be in force for seven days, after which the future course of action will be decided.
West Bengal registered a record single-day spike of 1,198 COVID-19 cases on Friday, even as the second day of the lockdown in the containment zones was by and large effective with people staying indoors and shops closed.
The total number of cases in the state stands at 27,109, while 26 more people succumbed to the disease, raising the death toll to 880, the health department said.
Vast swathes of West Bengal wore a deserted look on Friday as most people in the state’s 463 containment zones preferred to stay indoors.
The containment zones, spread across 20 of the state’s 23 districts, went into a total lockdown from 5 pm on Thursday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said the shutdown will be in force for seven days, after which the future course of action will be decided.
Barricades were put up outside the containment zones to restrict movement. Police patrol vehicles and those associated with emergency services were seen plying. In some areas, shops dealing with essentials were allowed to do business for four hours.
Long queues were witnessed outside grocery stores and LPG outlets in the city and adjoining areas.
Police resorted to mild force at some places to ensure that the safety protocols were adhered to, besides asking people through public address systems to remain indoors.
The state government has said it will make arrangements for home delivery of essential commodities during the lockdown period in the containment zones.
Private and public vehicles remained off the roads in these areas while all business establishments, barring those dealing with essential commodities, stayed shut.
However, public transport was mostly unaffected in the city as the main thoroughfares remained open.
The numbers of private buses was, however, a little less compared to other days as a majority of transport workers hailing from the neighbouring districts could not report to work owing to the lockdown in the containment zones, Joint Council of Bus Syndicates general secretary Tapan Banerjee said.
Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma visited various parts of the city and asked his officers to ensure a total lockdown in the containment zones.
The government has clubbed the containment zones with the nearby buffer zones, officials said.
Meanwhile, Bengali film actor Koel Mullick announced on social media that she has tested positive for the contagion and is on self-quarantine.
In another incident in South 24 Pargana’s Dholahat, clashes between the police and inmates of a quarantine centre were reported, after a civil police volunteer was caught red-handed in a compromising position with a woman migrant worker.
Later, a police contingent reached the spot and brought the situation under control.