West Bengal restricts movement as coronavirus infection climbs to four

Around 88 samples have been tested so far and 18,700 people have been put under home surveillance. Around 563,000 people have been screened | FIle photo
Amidst growing number of positive Covid-19 cases in the state, the West Bengal government on Saturday restricted movement of people by stopping all inter-state bus travel.

A government notification stated that bus travel originating from the state shall remain suspended from March 22 till March 31 and during this period, no buses originating from other states will be allowed to enter West Bengal.

The government has also written a letter to the chairman of the Railways Board to ensure that no trains enter the state Monday onwards.

The decision comes after the state's chief minister raised concerns over the spread of the coronavirus owing to the migratory pattern of the population.

On Friday, after a meeting with PM Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee had sought an immediate ban on the landing of international flights in the city. Out of the four cases of infection reported in the state, three people landed in the city from the UK. The other patient has no travel history.

Moreover, the state government tightened its grip to contain the spread of coronavirus by ordering closure of non-essential public places like restaurants and pubs, zoos and museums till March 31.

In an official notification from the home and hill affairs department, the government said, "In order to further check non-essential social gathering which leads to spread of the virus from infected person to healthy person, it  is ordered to shut all restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, night clubs, hookah bars, massage parlours, amusement parks, museums, zoos, with effect from 0600 hours of 22/03/2020."

Besides, it has asked people to avoid other social gatherings as well. In case these cannot be avoided like marriage, cremation and others, the gathering should be kept at bare minimum to ensure proper social distancing.

The order remains in effect till March 31, 2020.

Strict legal action will be taken in case of violation, the order added.

Around 88 samples have been tested so far and 18,700 people have been put under home surveillance. Around 563,000 people have been screened.

Invoking the West Bengal Epidemic Disease Covid-19 Regulation 2020, the government has advised people coming from abroad, especially from US, UK, Europe and West Asia to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days. People not following the procedure are liable for action including forced quarantine.

Kolkata police commissioner Anuj Sharma said that following this order, two women have been forcibly shifted to a hospital from a housing complex in Ballygunj for not adhering to the protocol of home quarantine after coming back from abroad. In fact the second positive case of Covid-19 was reported from this locality.

The government has already cancelled all Board examinations and has ordered schools to remain shut till April 14.

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