West Bengal reported 144 new deaths linked to COVID-19 on Saturday – its highest figure since the beginning of the pandemic – as the proportion of coronavirus tests coming back positive also reached an all-time high of 9.8 per cent.
With 19,511 new cases reported, the number of daily infections came below 20,000 after 10 days. The state has reported 13,137 deaths and over 11 lakh cases so far.
Kolkata reported 3,951 new cases and 30 deaths. North 24 Parganas district had 4,279 cases and 35 deaths.
The number of active cases in Bengal rose to 1,31,948 while over 19,000 patients were reported as recovered in the last 24 hours.
Since Friday, 66,563 samples have been tested in the state, a health department bulletin said.
The numbers come on a day when the West Bengal government announced a complete lockdown from Sunday till May 30, as it put in place a host of stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including banning vehicular movement and all kinds of gatherings.
Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said the lockdown will take effect from 6 am on Sunday till 6 pm on May 30.
During this period, all government and private offices, shopping complexes, malls, bars, sports complexes, pubs, cinema halls and beauty parlours will remain closed other than those relating to emergency and essential services, including healthcare, law and order, courts, power, drinking water and media.
Movement of private vehicles, taxis and autorickshaws will be prohibited except to and from hospitals, diagnostic and vaccination centres, airports and media houses, the top government official said.
“All intra-state local trains, bus services, metro railway and inland water transport shall remain closed for the 15-day lockdown period, barring movement of emergency and essential services personnel,” Mr Bandyopadhyay said.
He said petrol pumps, auto repair shops, LPG gas offices and distribution centres will remain open, while banks will operate from 10 am-2 pm.
Sweet shops – a key part of the state’s gastronomy – will be allowed to open between 10 am and 5 pm, and jewellery and saree shops from 12 pm-3 pm. E-commerce and home delivery services of all commodities shall be allowed.
West Bengal has been witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases since the first week of April alongside the eight-phase assembly elections and campaigning by political parties.
(With inputs from PTI)