With an increasing number of Covid-19 cases being reported from Kolkata and its twin city Howrah, the police here have started sealing roads and specific localities in order to prevent spread of the virus.
Sources say particular areas in a ward may be marked and sealed off as containment zones.
According to officials of the Kolkata Police, sealing “by way of barricading” has begun in “lanes or areas where Covid-19 cases are being detected”. Some roads have been closed with guard-rails to prevent residents from coming out and to stop movement of vehicles through these areas. Entry of outsiders has been barred.
Some localities of Kolkata have self-barricaded “voluntarily”. For instance, a particular locality in the northern fringes of Kolkata – called Baguihati – has installed collapsible gates across its lanes and bylanes. The idea was to “stop people and outsiders pass through”. The area is often used as a short-cut to reach a major thoroughfare.
West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, has already mentioned that nearly 90 per cent of the coronavirus cases in Bengal have been reported from either Kolkata or Howrah. Over the last two days, Thursday and Friday, West Bengal reported 24 and 22 new cases respectively, the highest single day additions, in recent times.
The Chief Minister has also raised fear of community spread in certain areas, if containment is not done.
14-day time frame
In an administrative meeting held via video-conferencing yesterday, Banerjee pointed out that the situation had worsened in “select areas,” particularly in specific localities of Kolkata.
With a number of urban slums, and homes located in close proximity, older locations – across north, south and central Kolkata – continued to be vulnerable.
“We must enforce the lockdown strictly. Social mingling has to stop. If necessary, deploy armed police,” she said, adding that Kolkata and Howrah should be upgraded to the “orange zone” within the next 14-day period. Both were identified as “red zones” by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
A red zone is defined as an area where reported coronavirus cases were doubling in a period of four days.
In Kolkata, places around some slums – which include congested ones like lanes in Belgachhia, Ultadanga, Rajabazaar and Narkeldanga – have been sealed. Sources in the city civic body say select lanes are being marked out as containment zones and are being barricaded. The sanitisation process is on.
Similar barricades have been put up in localities and particular pockets of Bhowanipore or Padmapukur Street (older South Kolkata localities) or in lanes around Mukta Ram Babu Street (one of the oldest North Kolkata localities).