Sources on Monday said the civic body’s Covid-combat team was in favour of a strict lockdown for at least another week. “A preliminary discussion was held in the civic headquarters last week. The matter was communicated to Alapan Bandyopadhyay, the state home secretary and the nodal officer for Kolkata. A decision will be taken by the state health department in consultation with KMC and the cops,” said a civic health department official. However, the source conceded that the concept of a total lockdown for a prolonged period may not be accepted by the state administration.
According to a KMC official, importance will be given to a semi-containment strategy that is mulled in specific pockets of the city. the model is being experimented at Vidyasagar, Sree Colony, Bijoygarh and Parnasree. Far from being a full containment zone, where every economic activity is stopped, this model helps to regulate movement to a particular place and time. The steps include access control of markets, fixed timings for markets, setting up of temporary barriers and conducting awareness campaigns on the need to maintain social distance.
“At Bijoygarh, we experimented with the model over the weekend. While the traders are getting jittery — with the local market remaining shut for a fortnight in two quick phases — we do not want to shut the markets forever. But efforts are on to keep the markets open on alternate days,” said ward coordinator Debabrata Majumdar.
Anindya Raut, Borough III coordinator who looks after some of the worst containment areas in the Phoolbagan-Kankurgachhi-Ultadanga-Beliaghata belt, said he was open to trying out a mixed “containment policy”. “Instead of shutting down everything, we can concentrate only on the affected buildings and keep a constant vigil,” he said.
Police said they had placed certain proposals for KMC to mull over — from finalizing the total number of zones to implementing a lockdown in these places. Interestingly, these changes are not only restricted to different clusters within the same area but spread out geographically across the city. At Bhowanipore, for example, one address in Chakrabria is likely to come out of the containment list but chances of a couple of additions from the same area are not ruled out. The same pattern was visible in Phoolbagan and Beliaghata as well. While one containment zone in Phoolbagan — Ramkrishna Samadhi Road — has not recorded a new case, two addresses in Kankurgachhi have reported multiple cases this weekend.
Amongst the new areas that will keep both KMC and police worried is the Sikdarpara Street at Posta. A new containment zone in Ballygunge will see strict lockdown in the coming days. Police are also worried about Paharpur in Garden Reach, the first containment zone in the densely populated Port area.