Lifting of lockdown should be done in three stages: Mamata Banerjee

A hundred per cent removal of lockdown two weeks after May 4 – that tops the the wishlist of Mamata Banerjee as a citizen and the chief of Trinamool Congress. Asked about her opinion on the lifting of the lockdown four days before the video-conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bengal Chief Minister on Thursday said she would “share opinion only when asked at the meeting with the prime minister, if that came up on the agenda”.
“The panic virus is as bad as the corona virus,” she said and rolled out her phased lockdown lift plan.
“As a citizen and TMC chief, I want lockdown to be scaled back,” Banerjee told NDTV. The lifting of the lockdown, she added, should be done in three stages. “Lift 25 per cent of lockdown in week beginning May 4, reopen 50 per cent in second week after May 4, and total roll back should happen in two weeks after May 4,” she said.
There are, however, some caveats – air and rail traffic, especially long-distance trains, should stay shut. Also in the hotspots of coronavirus, focused intervention should continue.
In Bengal, she said, “We have handled dengue outbreaks of 30,000 to 40,000 people,” suggesting the state is equipped to deal with COVID-19.
The Chief Minister and her government have over the last couple of days, been embroiled in a struggle with the Centre over allegations of lockdown violations and misreporting of cases.
On Wednesday, a central team sent to Bengal to investigate the allegations spent the day locked in their guest house in Kolkata, waiting for logistical support. They did not even receive a response to their request.
The Bengal Chief Minister has blamed the Indian Council of Medical Research, the country’s nodal organization in the battle against coronavirus, for the low rate of testing in her state.
“The rapid test kits have been withdrawn. They were totally faulty. The BGI RT-PCR its were also withdrawn. Two types of kits gone. The third are antigen kits that are yet to be given to hospitals in Bengal. Then what are we left with? Who will answer?” Banerjee said.