Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Kolkata Police, which are now trying to battle the Covid-19 pandemic across 1,595 micro-containment units in the city (there has been a rise of 154 in the past 24 hours, when 82 names were struck off the list), blame the spike to the sudden unrestricted movement of people in this densely populated zone. Between Friday and Saturday, the Bhowanipore-Ballygunge area has added 19 containment units. A day prior to Cyclone Amphan, wards 69-73 had merely seven containment zones.
“You have everything — apartments, standalone buildings, big markets, commercial establishments and slums — here. There is no homogeneous character and few people are being able to follow the Covid directives while trying to carry out the economic activities,” said a KMC official from the health department. “With the beginning of Unlock 1.0, a section of people has become desperate to take public transport to reach office. This desperation has led to a spurt in the number of cases,” felt a KMC doctor who is a part of the civic body’s Covid response team.
In Ballygunge and Bhowanipore areas, fresh cases are being reported from high-rises, apartments and standalone buildings. KMC sources said among the fresh positive cases in Bhowanipore include an army officer and the daughter of a ruling party councillor. The KMC health department has been asked to remain vigilant in large areas of Bhowanipore, Sarat Bose Road and Hazra Road. “We need to keep a special vigil on large markets in Park Circus-Ballygunge and Bhowanipore-Sarat Bose Road areas as these markets have become the hotspots post Unlock 1.0,” a KMC senior health department official said. At Karaya and its adjacent area, KMC health and solida waste management teams have been doing rounds after emergence of fresh cases.
The past 24 hours have seen fresh cases from Hemchandra Street near Paddapukur, Gobinda Bose Road, Monoharpukur, Panditya Road, Rammohan Dutta Road, Beltala Road, Palm Avenue, Park Circus and Ballygunge Place. Multiple cases have been reported from Sarat Bose Road and its adjoining areas like Southern Park and Ritchie Park.
While major markets like Jadubabu Bazar and Lansdowne Market remain the concern areas, reports from slums (Pyarabagan and Monoharpukur) are equally worrying. The disease has spread into a local hospital as well. “We are trying to disinfect the markets. But the highrises need to follow Covid norms — especially those who are going out daily — to effectively stop the spread of coronavirus,” said a KMC official.
Atin Ghosh, a member of board of administrators that governs the KMC board, said special teams were deployed in these containment zones. “We have deployed special crack teams that will collect swabs of Covid suspects and conduct random thermal screening in densely populated areas and slums,” Ghosh said.