FAQ: West Bengal Announces New COVID Restrictions. Here's All You Need to Know
Schools and colleges shut, flights impacted, and gatherings restricted. New curbs imposed from Monday, 3 January.
As cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 are rising across the country, several states have begun implementing stringent restrictions to contain the spread of the virus.
West Bengal has reported 20 cases of Omicron, so far. Here is a full list of the restrictions announced by the West Bengal government, which will be implemented from Monday, 3 January 2022, till Saturday, 15 January 2022.
Will there be a complete lockdown or only a partial one?
There would only be a partial lockdown in the state. Night curfew will be in place from 10 PM to 5 AM. Only essential and emergency services shall be permitted during this time.
Will schools and colleges be shut again?
Yes, all schools and universities are to be closed to students from Monday. Only school administation staff is permitted to go to school at 50 percent strength.
Will offices be shut too?
Not entirely. All corporations, both government and private, including public undertakings, will function at 50 percent strength at any given time.
Will public transport be affected?
Yes, public transport will be affected, but it won't be fully shut down. Local trains will be running at 50 percent seating capacity only till 7 PM. Post 7 PM, no local trains will function. Long-distance trains will run as per schedule.
The Metro will also be running at 50 percent capacity, as per the usual operational schedule.
Are flights impacted?
Yes. Direct flights from London have been suspended temporarily from Monday, 3 January. Flights from Delhi and Mumbai will be allowed to land only on Mondays and Fridays twice a week, from 5 January.
What COVID test reports will international travellers need?
Passengers from non-risk countries will need to show rapid antigen test reports (RAT). For those whose RATs are positive, RT-PCR test reports are necessary.
What are the restrictions on public gatherings?
Meetings can only be held at a maximum strength of 200 people or at 50 percent capacity, whichever is lower.
All social and religious gatherings have been restricted to 50 people. The same applies to all marriage-related ceremonies.
As for funeral services, only a maximum of 20 people are allowed.
Will all avenues of recreation and entertainment be shut too?
Places like swimming pools, spas, gyms, salons, and beauty parlors will be shut from Monday. All tourist places, entertainment parks, and zoos will also be closed.
However, shopping malls and complexes are allowed to function at 50 percent capacity. This applies to restaurants, bars, cinema halls, and theatres as well. They are to be shut from 10 PM to 5 AM, in accordance with the night curfew.
Will any government schemes and programmes be impacted?
Duare Sarkar, a state government initiative for delivering government schemes to people's doorsteps through outreach camps, has been postponed by a month. It will resume on 1 February, depending on the scale of the spread of the virus then.
Are there any restrictions on political events?
As per a statement by the West Bengal State Election Commission on Monday, roadshows and bike rallies will be prohibited during campaigning for the municipal polls, and 500 people will be allowed in an outdoor political rally.
According to ANI, the EC added in its order, "Only 5 people will be allowed for door-to-door campaigning. Political meetings at indoor locations allowed with 50% capacity."
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