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Lockdown in West Bengal set to end today


Lockdown in West Bengal set to end today

An area of lockdown in Howrah
Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS

The lockdown in the Indian state of West Bengal is set to end today after a week-long extension due to rising case numbers of COVID-19.

After reporting 24 deaths and 1,390 new cases on Tuesday, West Bengal determined it necessary to extend the lockdown in containment zones. Essential services will remain open, but transportation services as well as private and government offices have been closed. The state has reported over 38,000 COVID-19 cases and over 1,000 deaths since March.

As case numbers continue to increase, the containment zones—the most infected areas of the region—will remain in a strict lockdown. Containment zones are currently in place around the cities of Kolkata, Jalpaiguri, Malda, Cooch Behar, Raiganj and Siliguri. These areas have been monitored closely by the government to contain the spread of the virus.

In May, the Indian government announced a $266 billion support package to prop up the country’s declining economy, with some projecting a 10% loss of GDP in the medium-term. In the short-term, an extended lockdown is necessary to prevent the virus’ spread but a longer shutdown could indicate that West Bengal—and the country as a whole—will face more long-term economic damage, including loss of GDP and stunted growth.

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