New Delhi: West Bengal became the first state to announce that all religious places will open from June 1 as the country will enter the fifth phase of its ongoing lockdown. However, not more than 10 people will be allowed inside and no religious congregation will be allowed, said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Also Read - West Bengal Lockdown Extension News: Shutdown in Containment Zones Only For 7 Days, Will Extend if Needed, Says Mamata Banerjee
The state government is planning a staggered opening as from June 8, public and private sectors will open up in the state with 100 per cent strength. Also Read - Amalgamating Containment, Buffer Zones: How West Bengal Fights Coronavirus With New Strategy
“West Bengal was successful in controlling COVID-19 spread in the last two months; cases increasing now as people coming from outside,” CM Mamata Banerjee said. Also Read - West Bengal Lockdown Extension News: Do You Need Travel Passes? Will ATM Services Work? Can You Get Milk, Vegetables?
Earlier, Karnataka CM has written to the PM urging permission to open religious places maintaining social distancing.
Union home minister Amit Shah spoke to all chief ministers over the telephone and sought their view on the extension of the lockdown. Most of the CMs are in favour of an extension, but they want a fillip to the economy as well. Shah met PM Modi on Friday and conveyed the states’ views to him. A general guideline of lockdown 5.0 is expected by May 30, while the states will be given a free hand to decide what they want to open and what not, according to their ground situation, requirement and sentiment.
On Thursday, West Bengal recorded the biggest single-day spike in corona cases.
West Bengal has so far recorded 223 COVID-19 deaths including six new cases in the last 24 hours, while 90 patients were also discharged from hospitals. The state also tested 9256 samples in 24 hours with total tests done are 1,66,513.
The state has waded into many controversies since the outbreak of the pandemic. During the initial phases of lockdown, the state created a stir after it allowed sweet shops to function for restricted hours in the state. Then, there were allegations that the state was underreporting its cases. Now, the CM is firing a salvo at the Centre and the Railways for sending Shramik Specials at arbitrarily, causing the unexplained jump in the number of cases.