On Sunday evening, the state home department sent a note to the state police DGP Virendra, Kolkata Police commissioner Anuj Sharma and all district magistrates, saying, “DMs may take a view on continuing lockdown: town-wide or zonewise depending on the local situation. They can do it for 5-7 days. State-wide containment zone-based lockdown continues till 31 July.” “Further decision will be taken depending on the field situation,” a senior state official told TOI.
“The spike in cases necessitate this extension of partial lockdown. But this lockdown will have to be enforced strongly or else it would be impossible to curb this trend. It has been proven in the past that total lockdown is unsustainable. The government’s step of containment zone lockdown is the only way by which we can stop the community spread. But people too need to understand the gravity of the situation,” Sukumar Mukherjee, who is also part of the state’s Covid expert committee, said.
The containment zone lockdown was imposed in the state from July 9. Kolkata then had 25 containment zones with 8,368 cases. In the last 10 days, the number of cases rose to 12,682 prompting the state to increase the number of containment zones from 25 to 32. New areas like apartments on Sarat Bose Road, Judges Court Road, Dover Lane, Panditiya Road, Rajpur D Block, Raja Gopal Mohan Street (Maniktala), Sammilani Park (Santoshpur) were added to the list while the previous zones remained unchanged.
Of the 739 containment zones in the state, 297 are from four districts — Kolkata, Howrah, North and South 24 Parganas. North 24 Parganas has the highest, 113 containment zones. These four districts have 71% of total Covid cases in Bengal. Kolkata has the highest (12,682) number of Covid cases.
Virologist Amitava Nandi said unless the lockdowns are imposed strictly it won’t yield any result. “We have seen lockdowns before. Effective lockdowns are a culmination of people’s efforts and administrative measures. Unless both happen together it will have no benefit.”
RN Tagore International International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) consultant Arindam Biswas agreed. He pointed out that lockdowns were the only effective weapon in the hands of the administration and it was the people’s responsibility to respect it. “There can never be enough hospital beds for all those who are now being affected. So, prevention is the best way to fight the pandemic and it can happen most effectively through lockdowns,” said Biswas.