The localities that were added to the list on Tuesday were those from where fresh cases of people suffering from cough, fever and respiratory distress, all Covid-like symptoms, have been reported recently. The area around Buroshibtala in Briji was cordoned off after an elderly woman suffering from cancer showed the symptoms. In Haltu, another woman with similar symptoms was sent to isolation before the locality was barricaded.
Sources in KMC confirmed that the civic brass had held talks with senior officers from police headquarters Lalbazar regarding expansion of containment areas to try and break the infection chain before it spread its tentacles to more parts of the city. Already, much of north, south-west and south east-Kolkata are under extensive lockdown.
“We are expanding the confinement list from 68 to 112 locations. In the first list, 27 areas had been identified as high-risk zones where the lockdown was extremely strict to reduce human activity to a trickle in order to gain control of the Covid-19 spread,” a KMC official told TOI. The team is working out on which of the new areas will be categorized as high-risk.
According to a civic official, KMC and Kolkata Police teams have already embarked on an intensive anti-Covid drive since the second week of April. But the situation changed dramatically last week when new Covid-19 positive cases began emerging from fresh areas. Suddenly, fresh pockets of the city like Colootola, Jorabagan, Entally, Ananda Palit Road, Elliot Road, Ballygunge, Garia and large parts of Behala threw up multiple cases, leaving public health officials floundering.
“The manner in which the virus is infecting people, we need to not only expand the containment zones but take stern measures, including punitive action against lockdown flouters, to ensure people remain indoors and maintain social distance. Police have been asked to get tough with those who violate Covid-19 guidelines,” said a KMC official in charge of the anti-Covid drive.
There was hectic activity at both the police HQ in Lalbazar and at the civic headquarters on SN Banerjee Road. “It’s not a panic situation yet. But it is serious. We need to enlarge the containment zones and ensure that more people fall in line with our drive and obey Covid guidelines” said an officer at Lalbazar.
Both KMC and police, meanwhile, conducted disinfection drives in a north Kolkata neighbourhood off Bidhan Sarani. These drives are aimed at not only destroying the virus but also to dispel fear among residents. A 60-year-old with symptoms of Covid-19 had died after respiratory trouble, triggering panic in the Jorasanko area. The health department said the woman’s test results were awaited. Her family members are in quarantine.
Police along with local councillors charted out a strategy on supply of essentials in the lockdown areas where residents are barred from exiting and outsiders banned from entering. “The whole idea is to ensure that residents avail of the essential requirements at home and don’t step out. We have spoken to the vendors at the local markets to ensure undisrupted supplies,” said a councillor.
Police officers said stringent lockdown was needed to curb errant youths and a section of hyper-active local residents who were refusing to sit at home. Police have roped in youths from local clubs to help KMC and police enforce the lockdown by providing services like doorstep delivery of essentials to residents and information on flouting by residents to police,” the source said.
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