The ACJ Wrap: COVID-19 in West Bengal

A man walks past an empty intersection in Kolkata, West Bengal. Cases in the state seem to be coming down drastically, which may prompt the state government to relax Covid-related curbs. Picture: The Indian Express

According to data published by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 22,36,842 cases are active today, as of 2:00PM, 25 January 2022 down from 22,49,335 cases on Monday. While experts have suggested that the Omicron variant is less deadly than the previous variants, data from the World Health Organisation is inconclusive.

While India has seen a dip in the daily tally of Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, several states have seen large amounts of deaths. Kerala has seen the highest deaths (171), followed by Tamil Nadu (46), Punjab (45), West Bengal (37), Karnataka (32), and Delhi (30).

Schools were shut during the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, before finally being opened in February 2021. They were shut in the following summer, which happened to coincide with the West Bengal general elections, before finally being opened in November. When the third wave of the pandemic began on 3 January 2022, schools and colleges were shut in West Bengal. This marks the third time that this has happened. 

The Hindustan Times reported that in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Calcutta High Court last week, the West Bengal government launched open-air “Paray Shikshalay” for students of pre-primary and primary students even as schools remain shut.

In what may come as a surprise to many, despite the third wave of the pandemic, business activity seems to have been dragged back to pre-pandemic levels, according to a report from the Nomura India Business Resumption Index (NIBRI), an article from the Business Standard says.

In what may look like a bid to go back to pre-pandemic levels of business being conducted in the alcohol industry, many liquor companies are making a push for the home delivery of alcohol. Barring states like Maharashtra, Odisha, Karnataka and West Bengal, home-delivery of alcohol is not allowed in India.