Calcutta and several areas across West Bengal will be put under a lockdown from Monday 5 pm till March 27 in view of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a notification issued by the state government on Sunday.
Only essential services will be allowed during the period, the notification said.
The lockdown will apply to areas under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, all municipal towns in North 24 Parganas district, including Salt Lake and New Town, besides Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, West Burdwan, North Dinajpur and Howrah districts.
Siliguri, Darjeeling and Kurseong towns will also be put under the lockdown, apart from other urban areas in different parts of the state, according to the notification.
“No public transport services, including operation of taxis, autorickshaws, will be permitted. The exception will include transports of all kinds to and from hospitals, airports and goods carrier carrying food and essential commodities,” the notification said.
All shops, commercial establishments, offices, factories and workshops shall also shut their operations, it added.
“People are required to stay at home and come out only for basic services while strictly following the social distancing guidelines issued earlier. Any congregation of more than seven persons shall be prohibited in public places,” the notification said.
Any person found violating these restrictions shall be deemed to have committed a punishable offence, it added.
Foodgrains, groceries, vegetable, fruits, meat, fish, bread, milk, medical services, home delivery, petrol pumps, pharmacies, the IT sector and banks and ATMs, among others, have been exempted from the purview of the lockdown.
West Bengal witnessed a near-total shut down on Sunday as people chose to stay indoors in response to the “janata curfew” call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The state has so far has reported four confirmed COVID-19 cases.
City AQI improves significantly during ‘Janata Curfew’
Calcutta’s air quality showed a significant improvement on Sunday, with most people remaining indoors to observe ‘Janata Curfew’ in view of the coronavirus outbreak, officials said.
The PM 2.5 air quality index (AQI) was ‘satisfactory’ in all the automated air monitoring stations in the city during the day, an official of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board said.
The PM 2.5 AQI reading at the Ballygunge air monitoring station was 64 on Sunday noon while that in Bidhannagar was 74, the official said.
It read 57 at Fort William, 64 at Rabindra Bharati University, 45 at Jadavpur and 64 at Rabindra Sarobar air monitoring stations, he said.
The PM 2.5 levels hovered between 150 and 250 (moderate to severe range) across all the air stations till very recently, the official said.
For the past two days, the city’s average AQI was between 70 and 110, he said.
“The other side of the coronavirus outbreak is lower emission of pollutants in the air due to near-total shutdown, with a few very vehicles plying the roads,” the official added.