Kolkata: The Bengal government is likely to issue a fresh notification on complete lockdown in the state following Saturday evening’s Unlock 4 order by the Union home ministry that prohibits states from imposing any local lockdown outside containment zones without prior consultation with the Centre.
Following the new order, the issue came up for discussion during a review of the state’s Covid situation between CM Mamata Banerjee and chief secretary Rajeeva Sinha. The state has been observing intermittent ‘total lockdowns’ since July-end to “break the chain of Covid infection”. It has already observed three such shutdowns in July and five more in August while the sixth and last lockdown of August is scheduled for Monday. The government has already announced three lockdown dates for the coming month — September 7, 11 and 12.
Sources said the notifica-tion announcing the September dates is likely to be scrapped and a fresh notification issu-ed after discussions with the Centre.
The Unlock 4 guidelines also reiterated that there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods, and no separate permission/e-permit will be required for such movements. Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla had five days ago written to all chief secretaries, stating that such restrictions amount to violation of guidelines issued by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) under provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The state government had on July 21 announced the twice-a-week total lockdowns on the advice of experts who had stressed on the need to “break the chain of infection”. The state has till now registered 1.6 lakh Covid cases and 3,126 deaths.
Concerns over the Covid situation had also prompted the state government to ban flights from six Covid hotspot cities in July. On Thursday, the government announced that the restriction will be eased from next month when flights from the six cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Nagpur and Ahmedabad — will be allowed to fly into Kolkata three times a week.