The rise in the Covid case count in the state has prompted health experts to urge the government to reinforce the mask mandate and take a look at isolation norms.
It’s also time to step up vaccination, especially the administration of booster doses, the experts have said.
Bengal on Thursday recorded 198 new cases, slightly less than Wednesday’s tally of 230.
The state health department will soon issue an advisory that will include stricter Covid norms, officials said.
Doctors said while some old protocols should be implemented once again, some others can be tweaked to make them more practical.
Health experts said the mask mandate should be reinforced immediately to curb another sharp rise in the number of cases.
“Masks should again be made mandatory at all public places. It is one of the most important tools to fight Covid,” said Chandramouli Bhattacharya, infectious disease expert at Peerless Hospital.
Officials of several hospitals said they were advising patients and their family members to wear masks.
“We should react now and make the mask norms strict again. Apart from public places, one should wear a mask in enclosed spaces while interacting with others,” said Sauren Panja, head of the critical care unit at the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences.
“The current strain of the virus seems less severe than delta, which caused severe symptoms. But there is always a chance of the emergence of a strain that can cause severity like delta and be as virulent as omicron. A person may still get Covid even after vaccination, but the vaccine can prevent the severity of the disease,” said Bhattacharya.
A health department official said they were unhappy with the rate of vaccination, particularly booster doses.
“We have come across many people who have become eligible for the booster but are reluctant to take the shot,” the official said.
Testing & isolation
The health department official said the government will issue an advisory asking hospitals to conduct Covid tests for patients who are coming to get admitted for other diseases but are having symptoms of Covid like fever and cough.
“Some hospitals are doing the tests while others are not. So we are issuing another advisory asking every hospital to conduct the test,” said the official.
Bhattacharya said even if someone with mild symptoms does not get tested, he or she should self-isolate for about three days.
“During previous waves, many people with symptoms were testing positive for Covid because of the overwhelming presence of the virus. But now there could be only a few positive cases,” Bhattacharya said.
“So, there could be many who don’t want to get tested... but they should isolate themselves for the safety of others,” he said.