In view of rising Covid-19 cases in the state and high positivity rate, the West Bengal government has issued a new set of guidelines for citizens and travellers apart from existing restrictions in place. In a setback to travellers flocking to the eastern state for vacations, the government has announced to shut all tourists places for 15 days effective today. Additional Chief Secretary of West Bengal, BP Gopalika, in an order, also restricted the number of flights coming to Delhi and Mumbai by reducing the flight frequency to twice a week from January 5.
“This is to inform that in view of the rising number of Covid cases, the state government has decided that with effect from January 5, 2022, all incoming domestic flights from Mumbai and Delhi to West Bengal will be temporarily allowed only twice a week on Monday and Friday until further orders. Accordingly, it is kindly requested that all airlines may be communicated of the aforesaid decision of the state government for necessary action,” stated the official order written to Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India.
The decision came after the state authorities reviewed the current Covid-19 situation and raised concerns over the high positivity rate of the virus and multiple new cases of the Omicron variant. The additional guidelines, which will remain in effect till January 15, also include the closure of all entertainment parks and zoos. Shopping malls, market complexes, restaurants, and bars in the state will operate at 50 per cent capacity and till 10 pm only.
Meetings and conferences shall be allowed with a maximum of 200 people at a time or 50 per cent seating capacity of the hall, whichever is lower. No more than 50 persons will be allowed at weddings and any other social or religious gatherings. Movement of people and vehicles and public gatherings of any kind shall be prohibited between 10 pm to 5 am with only essential and emergency services permitted during night hours, the order mandated.
Earlier last week, the West Bengal government issuing a new notification on international incoming flights had decided to ban all flights from the United Kingdom in the state from January 3 until further orders. The state government also issued a diktat for all international passengers to undergo a mandatory Covid-19 test on arrival at the airport. All arrivals from ‘at risk’ countries are already required to take an RT-PCR test on arrival at Indian airports whereas, at the Kolkata International Airport, all arriving international passengers from countries, not ‘at risk’ will be required to mandatorily undergo a test on arrival at their cost.