Kolkata | Jagran News Desk: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday extended the lockdown in the state amid the rising number of coronavirus across the country.

While addressing a press conference, Banerjee said that the lockdown has been extended in the state till June 30, with all existing relaxations and conditions still in place.

"The lockdown is being extended in the state till June 30, with all existing relaxations and conditions still in place. Earlier, we had allowed only 10 people at social programmes such as a marriage or a funeral ceremony, now we have increased it to 25," she said after a meeting of the state cabinet.

The Mamata Banerjee-led government eased shutdown curbs in the state from June 1, allowing places of worship to reopen, and jute, tea and construction sectors to resume full-fledged operations.

Shopping malls, restaurants and other establishments resumed services in West Bengal on Monday after a gap of over two months, with the state government allowing further relaxations as part of "Unlock-1", the first phase of a calibrated exit from the coronavirus-induced lockdown across the country.

The West Bengal government decision to extend lockdown comes on a day when the country entered "Unlock 1.0", the first phase of the Centre's three-phase plan to uplift the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown. 

However, ‘Unlock-1 kicks in at a time when the country recorded a daily jump of COVID-19 cases by over 9,000 for the fifth straight day on Sunday and also crossed the 10,000 mark for the first time. It is the first of the three-phase plan for reopening of prohibited activities in non-containment zones with a stringent set of Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs) which will be in place till June 30.

A visit to the shopping malls, hotels and restaurants and religious places will no longer be the same like before the lockdown imposed on March 25 after the Union Health Ministry issued the SOPs for strict adherence to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In the malls, cinema halls, gaming arcades and children play areas will continue to be in the prohibited segment. The SOPs are advisory in nature and the Centre has left it to the states to finetune the details.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma