Kolkata: As Covid-19 onslaught continues unabated while the city prepares for Durga Puja celebrations, various doctor organizations have been proposing a scaled-down celebration this year as a sharp surge in cases is expected after the Pujas.
On Friday, Indian Medical Association (IMA), West Bengal, appealed to all stakeholders, including Puja organizers, to abide by preventive protocols that would help reduce the extent of damage.
The IMA has also announced prizes for the most Covid-aware Puja. The pandals will be judged on the basis of how many safety measures they take up.
“Please reduce the pomp, the lighting and festive mood. It is best if events like ‘sindoor khela’, cultural soirees, prasad distribution and vijaya sammilani can be avoided this year,” said an appeal to Puja organizers by the doctors’ body.
With the daily positive cases in Kolkata hovering above 700 for 10 consecutive days, the active cases in the city has crossed the 7,000 mark. This was as low as 5,376 cases in the beginning of October. On Friday, it rose to 7,106.
IMA has also suggested organizers not to allow any food stall in 100m radius of the pandal. In case the food stalls are allowed, there should be not be any sitting arrangement and only packaged food should be served.
Representatives of the association had met with the state health secretary last week with a number of suggestions so that Covid-prevention measures can be taken up best by organizers.
“We will have Puja protocol monitoring teams visiting various pandals to see if the safety norms are being followed. We also appeal to people not go out in groups, not to venture into crowded places and stay at home as much as possible,” said IMA, West Bengal, secretary Santanu Sen.
Apart from Kolkata, the neighbouring districts, especially North 24 Parganas, have 6,809 active cases. Out of the 31,984 active cases, more than half are from Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas and Howrah together.
The IMA has also decided to help doctors with admission if they get infected between Chaturthi and Ekadasi.