Kolkata: Sealing of Ballygunge Place a couple of days ago after a resident showed Covid-19 symptoms and similar cases at Shahid Smriti Colony off EM Bypass the day before may have drawn attention to south Kolkata, but north and central Kolkata continue to be the city’s Covid hotspots a month into the lockdown.
With more cases being reported each day from neighbourhoods that are densely populated, health experts are getting wary that the situation may spiral out of control and lead to community spread if urgent measures aren’t adopted to break the chain. Though several areas are sealed and locked, authorities are finding it difficult to keep people at homes at neighbourhoods steeped in para culture.
Frustrated by the lack of discipline among residents, Kolkata Police brass has asked all police stations to submit a list of lanes and bylanes that require more close monitoring. “Allocation of fresh CCTV cameras is being done for installation in these problem areas so that they can be monitored 24X7 and violations spotted so that police can move in and take action. These are dingy lanes where patrolling is not always possible. It is an additional heath hazard. We have also opened hotlines through Lalbazar control room with both Swasthya Bhawan and KMC, where we are reporting any news of fever that we are coming across through our sources,” said a senior IPS officer at Lalbazar.
Sources said areas around Phalpatty, Jorasanko, Amherst Street, Narkeldanga, Entally, Belgachhia, Karaya and Topsia have been identified as zones requiring greater CCTV surveillance. Besides deploying combat forces, Lalbazar has drawn up a schedule for using drones.
Chief secretary Rajeeva Sinha has, two days in succession, drawn attention to Kolkata’s alarming situation. On Thursday, 80% of 58 fresh cases reported were from the city, a majority of them from the northern and central parts. On Friday again, 51 new cases were reported. Of these, 51% were from Kolkata, 18% from Howrah and 13% from North 24 Parganas.
“There is no doubt that Kolkata with 150 containment zones is the biggest challenge in combating the virus,” said a public health official.
Sources said about 60% of the new Covid cases reported in the past week were from north and central Kolakta.. The administration, both Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Kolkata Police engaged in on-field operations to contain the virus spread, have decided to scale up efforts even more to convince people to stay indoors and cooperate with KMC health workers who are going house to house to carry out fever surveys.
According to a KMC health department official, the civic body was particularly worried about areas like Belgachhia, Narkeldanga, Jorabgan, Jorasanko Beadon Street, Burrabazar, College Street, Bowbazar Taltala and Park Circus as almost 50% of fresh cases were being reported from these places. “We are worried about the slums and thus intensified our activities in these areas,” said a civic official. KMC teams in PPE gear with cops in tow are going door-to-door to collect information on Covid symptoms. Police and KMC are also evaluating a more stringent entry and exit parameter in some of these new areas.
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