The Union health ministry on Wednesday indicated they had identified Kolkata, North 24-Parganas, East Midnapore and Howrah as places to have reported more cases than elsewhere in Bengal. The state government has further mapped the disease spread to micro-clusters in these “sensitive” zones and already introduced containment measures.
A KMC market department official on Wednesday said department officials and cops would man entry points at major markets in those areas—Ultadanga, Maniktala, New Market, Gariahat, Lansdowne, Lake, Baghajatin being some of them—to ensure no crowding took place. Besides, at some major markets with multiple entry points, only two would stay open for public use. Police also said access control would be part of this strategy. “We will not shut out any neighbourhood but we want to keep as many people from entering them as coming out of it. If required, adequate arrangements for ration will be made. Police would also resort to using drones for surveillance on a few pockets, which are being regarded as sensitive zones. By-lanes in the earmarked areas will be barricaded and cop presence at entry points will be stepped up,” an officer said.
The KMC solid waste management department will intensify sanitization drive in all sensitive areas. “Large, specialized vehicles will be used for the sanitization of roads. Besides, hospitals, health centres and community halls will be disinfected as will be lanes and by-lanes that face threat,” said a KMC official. The civic body will specially focus on city’s slums for a disinfection drive and fever survey. “We will send more health workers to conduct door-to-door fever survey in sensitive areas, especially at slums,” said a KMC health department official.
At least 12 localities across seven municipalities in North 24 Parganas have been under complete lockdown after these areas were identified as hotspots by the central health ministry. Nearly 15 Covid-19 cases were reported from there and as many sent to quarantine. At least four deaths have also been reported, though the expert committee set up by the state government has not confirmed them to be due to Covid.
Barricades have been put up in areas, like Dum Dum, Nagerbazar, Satgachhi and Birati under North Dum Dum Municipality, Neogipara under Baranagar Municipalty and Belgharia and Rathlata under Kamarhati Municipality to restrict exit and entry of people. Madhyagram and Michaelnagar under Madhyamgram Municipality, where a councillor and his driver tested positive, have reportedly been sealed, along with places in Bhatpara and Harba. “These places are under strict monitoring by police who are constantly patrolling. Respective civic bodies are carrying out regular sanitization of public places, like markets,” said a district official.
Areas in Howrah under stricter watch include Salkia, Mallik Fatak, Shibpur and Sandhya Bazar. In addition to police patrolling, drone surveillance is being carried out. The Howrah Municipal Corporation is also carrying out regular sanitization. But apart from a few lanes in Salkia, barricades are yet to be put up in other localities.
At Egra in West Midnapore—where five persons had tested positive after they attended a wedding—and Haldia, where a man contracted the virus after returning from Delhi, have also been marked sensitive areas. Markets in those places have been shut.
(With inputs from Rupak Banerjee and Suman Mandal)
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