Authorities of Birbhum’s Rajnagar block have asked its 80,000-odd residents to inform panchayat or block officials, the police or health workers where they are going and when they will be back before stepping out of the block in a bid to curb Covid-19.
Sources said the decision was taken after two women of Rajnagar who frequently visited West Burdwan’s Durgapur tested positive four days ago. The women were the first to report the Covid-19 infection among Rajnagar residents since May. The area had remained free of the disease for about a couple of months.
“Anyone can freely move around but we want to monitor it and take steps to arrest the spread of Covid-19,” said Rajnagar BDO Aloke Moulik.
Block officials, police officers and panchayats have set up a task force and a WhatsApp group with 100 Asha workers, police and village resource persons, among others, to monitor people’s movement. Once a person returns home to Rajnagar, s/he must stay in isolation for a week as a precaution.
“We have no intention to violate anyone’s privacy, but we need to know a person’s destination and date of return. After return, we are requesting them to stay isolated at least for seven days so as to curb the possibility of infections,” said a senior official.
Somenath Bhattacharyya, a primary school teacher in Rajnagar, welcomed the step. “We have no problem in sharing information on our movement and whereabouts if it prevents the outbreak of Covid in our area,” said Bhattacharyya.
“It is a good initiative at the block level but it is not possible to adopt a similar measure in a municipal town,” said Moumita Godara Basu, Birbhum district magistrate.
Officials said though the spike was not high in Birbhum, 521 cases have been reported in the district till Wednesday.