As Covid-19 returns with a bang, Malda has seen a sharp rise in cases in the past few days. A total of 101 new cases and one death were reported in the district last night. The tests were conducted at the VRDL in the Malda Medical College and Hospital.

Health officials have now started expressing concerns over the situation, even as the election process goes on in full swing, with overcrowded meetings and rallies being held every day. The people in general, meanwhile, alleged the administration was “indifferent” to the situation at hand.

According to sources, among the 101 fresh Covid-19 cases, 21 were from areas under the English Bazaar Municipality, 22 from Kaliachak- III, 11 from Kaliachak- II, eight from Habibpur and others from various other blocks.

Following the death of a school teacher in the EBM area on Monday, a railway employee Mukund Singh, 55, also died yesterday. Both of them had tested positive for the virus.

According to a health official in the district, political parties and supporters have not been following Covid protocols in their election rallies and meetings.

“Neither do they wear masks nor do they maintain social distancing in such gatherings, while the number of new infections is going up. The use of masks and keeping social distance should be mandatory, else the situation may get worse,” the official said.

On the other hand, the district administration is busy with the elections, with polling in the district on 26 and 29 April. Moreover, the infrastructure for the treatment of Covid patients has been reduced after the decline in the number of cases earlier.

If the situation goes out of hand now, people fear they will not be able to get proper treatment, while they also fear a lockdown anytime soon. However, the district administration has so far not talked about plans to impose a lockdown.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Saibal Mukherjee said, “Awareness programmes are on, but at many places, precautions are not being taken seriously. Though the immunization process is ongoing, people have to be aware of the infection and act accordingly. We have also been collecting samples for tests from different places.”