With Covid numbers rising in the city coupled with heavy rainfall that has raised fears of outbreak of vector-borne diseases, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) finds itself battling against a twin threat where public awareness plays a vital role, feels the civic body’s health experts.
Though the number of Covid 19 cases witnessed a slump in the pre-Durga Puja period, right after the festival the numbers have once again shot up, with around more 400 infected in just 24 hours of time, as per KMC data. This spurt, however, was clearly attributed to the festivities where Covid protocols were barely followed with pandal hoppers clicking away selfies in groups without Covid masks.
In view of the present conditions, KMC once again has resorted to the strict Covid protocols that were in place right after the second wave had hit the city, leading the state government to implement strict curbs that came into play in most public places that see gatherings on a daily basis such as in restaurants. All such establishments have been instructed to bring down shutters after 10:30 pm as a curfew will be implemented from 11 p.m. to 5 am.
Most of the eateries would have to ensure distancing and hence would have to function with 50 per cent capacity. The Kolkata Police, too, have been instructed to strictly monitor city areas at night during curfew. Police checkpoints have been set up at crossings to ensure strict vigilance.
The KMC board member in charge of health, Mr Atin Ghosh has expressed concern regarding this sudden spurt but accepted that it was expected and hence the civic body had already geared up to combat a possible rise in cases after the Pujas.
Mr Ghosh felt that people have a big role to play in preventing further infection through self-awareness and in following Covid protocols which had yielded results before. The safe homes that were opened to cater to Covid patients but were shut down over time due to a drop in numbers are being once again made functional to combat this fresh outbreak of infection.
The KMC health department believes there are enough reasons for worry as most of the newly infected cases were devoid of any symptoms while several contracted the virus despite having taken double doses of the vaccine. A KMC
official said that though there is no such guarantee that one will not contract covid after a full vaccination, fatality rate will definitely reduce.
The loss of lives will be prevented to a large extent. Meanwhile, a prolonged period of rainfall in the city has paved the way for fear of vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria. Dengue has claimed several lives in Kolkata in the past and left hospitals incapacitated due to large number of patients flooding hospitals, leading to medical establishments running out of hospital beds.
To avoid a similar situation, the KMC vector control teams have been asked to carry out surveillance in all 16 boroughs of the KMC. The high rise buildings and construction sites are under the scanner. Today, a KMC team surveyed high rise apartments and construction sites in borough VIII in ward 69 at Ballygunge Circular Road. Sources said this year, from January to October, more than 300 people have been infected with vector-borne diseases which include both malaria and dengue.