The spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continued to record a sharp hike in Kolkata, with the state on Saturday reporting that 64 people had tested positive and nine people had died in the last 24 hours. With this, the city has reported 276 new Covid-19 cases and 29 deaths in the past seven days.
Thirteen of Bengal’s 23 districts have reported new cases in the last week and Kolkata has emerged as the state’s greatest challenge. It is mainly because of the sharp increase in the numbers in Kolkata that Bengal’s overall graph is also rising. The state recorded 527 new cases and 38 deaths in the past seven days.
The situation is most critical in boroughs 1 to 9 sprawling across north and central Kolkata and parts of south Kolkata, and borough no 15 in western Kolkata, covering mostly the Garden Reach area. Of the total 326 containment zones in the city, 255 are between wards no 1 and 90 of the total 144-ward Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
“The situation is worse in ward no 66, where there are 11 containment zones. Besides, ward no 60 has nine containment zones and ward no 18 has seven,” said a KMC official.
Ward no 66 covers Tangra and Topsia area in central and south Kolkata. Ward 18 covers parts of Shobhabazar neighbourhood in north Kolkata, while ward 60 covers the Park Circus neighbourhood in central Kolkata.
Overall, 911 people tested positive in Kolkata and 116 of them died, with 64 deaths attributed to Covid-19 and 52 to co-morbidity.
“Cases in Kolkata are certainly increasing but there are also positive examples of densely populated areas reporting no new cases since been put under complete lockdown. Besides, the KMC has also started a door-to-door survey for Covid-19 symptoms and collection of swab samples from every household within containment zones,” said TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen, who is also a doctor, a KMC corporator, and is playing a leading role in the Mamata Banerjee government’s battle against Covid-19.
“We are entirely sealing containment zones with barricades. The police are helping people with doorstep delivery of essentials. Grocery shops, medicine shops and rickshaw-pullers have been roped in for this purpose,” said a senior officer of Kolkata police who did not want to be named.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, has blamed a lax lockdown in Kolkata for this steep rise. “The chief minister allowed sweetmeat shops to function. She took a casual approach and her police took the cue from her. People freely crowded markets. We are afraid that the lockdown in Kolkata is going to continue longer than other major cities in the country,” said BJP state unit president Dilip Ghosh.