In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced that the state has been put under complete lockdown from 5 pm on March 24 to March 31. She informed of her decision at a press conference at Nabanna. Bengal has so far reported nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 while one patient has died.
"After assessing the situation, it has been decided that the ongoing lockdown will be extended to the entire state from 5 pm today," Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister said that a 'Procheshta Scheme' has also been launched under which the people who have lost their income will get Rs 1,000. The people who wish to get assistance under the scheme will need to apply from April 15 to April 30. "The government will be giving free ration to the poor for the next six months," Banerjee said.
Mamata Banerjee also asked people to maintain distance between each other in public places like outside grocery shops and banks to avoid chances of contraction to the Coronavirus. She also appealed to the print media to distribute newspapers to the hawkers from their vehicle itself and "not keep the piles of newspapers on the road." The CM reiterated her call for social distancing and asked people to voluntarily sign up for testing should they have a recent travel history abroad.
On Tuesday, two more people with a recent history of foreign travel tested positive for the coronavirus in Bengal, taking the number of such cases in the state to nine, a state health official said. Of the two, one had returned from Britain and another man from Egypt. They have been kept in the isolation ward of the Beliaghata Infectious Diseases hospital, he said.
The first medical examination conducted on them showed they were infected with the virus. Their samples have been sent for a second test and the results are awaited. Besides these nine cases, a 57-year-old man from Dumdum had died from coronavirus.
(With agency inputs)