Bengal government eases Covid restrictions

National | Written by : IANS| Updated:

Bengal government eases Covid restrictions

Kolkata, May 31 (IANS) With the Covid infection showing signs of slowing down in the state, the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government on Monday decided to ease out the restrictions which are in place in the state for the last 15 days.

Announcing the decision, Chief Minister Banerjee said that the Covid situation in the state has improved, but there is no place for complacency.

"We have already given some relaxations to different sectors like construction workers and jute workers. Reviewing the present situation, the state government has decided to give relaxations to the retail and stand-alone shops. For example, jewellery shops will be allowed to operate from 12 noon to 3 pm. We are getting a lot of requests in this regard, and I hope this decision will help the small-time traders and businessmen," the Chief Minister said.

Not only retail shops and small-time traders, the state government has also given relaxations to IT companies where 10 per cent more workforce has been allowed.

"Earlier, we had allowed the construction workers to operate, besides giving some relaxations to the jute workers. The construction workers should be vaccinated, wear masks and maintain social distancing measures, and only then they can continue with their work. Similarly, the IT companies can utilise 10 per cent more of their present workforce," Banerjee said.

The state government allowed these relaxations after there was a marked improvement in the Covid situation in West Bengal over the past few days.

"There has been an improvement in the positivity rate, while the number of daily cases too has come down considerably. It went above 20,000 in the last week of April, but now it has come down to 11,000.

"Not only that, the positivity rate has also come down from 32 per cent to 16 per cent in the last two days. The death rate is 0.56 percent, which is much lower than the first wave when it was 1.67 per cent," the Chief Minister added.

The state government has so far vaccinated more than 1.5 crore people, she informed.

"More than one crore people have got their first dose of vaccine while another 40 lakh people have taken both the doses. We procured 18 lakh vaccine doses in April and another 22 lakh doses will be procured in June. We will first vaccinate those who are considered to be super spreaders, like hawkers, businessmen, transport workers and other frontline workers," the Chief Minister said.