Bengal may impose total lockdown amid Covid surge



Photo: IANS

With more than 73,000 new Covid-19 registered in the last seven days, speculations are rife that West Bengal, which has already announced formation of micro-containment zones, might impose a full lockdown curb the unprecedented spike.

On Friday, the state recorded 18,213 new cases, close to the highest single-day spike registered on May 14, 2021 (20,836).

Experts are of the opinion that if the transmission chain is not broken immediately then the number of daily cases might break the record within a couple of days.

What is more alarming for the state is the astronomical rise of cases in the last 10 days. On January 4, the number of fresh was 9,073 which then doubled within a span of two days.

On January 1 the number was just 4,512 but in the next seven days, the cumulative figure touched 73,412 causing real concern for the state administration.

In an effort to curb the steep rise of the virus, the state government has already announced a series of measures bringing back the micro-containment zone mechanism to restrict people from high infectious zones to get into the mainstream areas.

So far, the local administration has announced 48 micro-containment zones. of which 28 are in Bidhannagar - the satellite township of Kolkata.

Though Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the state government is against a total lockdown because it hampers the life of the common people but recently, she indicated that the state government is mulling stricter restrictions.

Not only in Kolkata and its adjacent areas, but the local administration has imposed partial lockdown in several other areas.

The local administration of South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Jalpaiguri, Nadia and North 24 parganas have announced a total lockdown three days a week.

"Presently we have decided to continue with a total lockdown on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and will carefully observe the situation for the next seven days. If the number of fresh cases doesn't come down then we might think of a stricter imposition of the lockdown conditions. We are going for a mass campaign so that the people become aware of wearing the masks and maintain social distance. This is the only way to control the spread of the disease," a senior official of a district adjacent to Kolkata said.

According to senior officials of the state government, the administration is not waiving out the possibility of a total lockdown in the state.

"We have one advantage that there is no rush in the hospitals and we don't have any shortage of oxygen either. It indicates that the people are having mild symptoms and will be safe if the maintain the government regulations strictly and stay in home isolation," a senior state government official said.

"We are preparing for the worst. If there is a huge rush in the hospitals then the government might think of imposing a lockdown in the entire state. Presently the situation is under control and we are having a close watch on the development. If the situation becomes critical then we will have think in a different way. Lockdown is our last resort and we will not impose it unless it is inevitable."-IANS

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