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Covid: Bengal govt announces new precautions to rein in possible third wave

Sources at Nabanna and health department stressed on distribution and wearing of face masks
A cop distributes masks in Pathar Pratima, South 24-Parganas.

Subhasish Chaudhuri   |   Calcutta   |   Published 23.08.21, 01:42 AM

The Bengal government on Sunday announced new precautions aimed at containing a possible third wave of Covid-19 in the state, following a spike in new cases across several districts.

Sources said updated precautions would include the enforcement of micro-containment zones “with strict vigilance” and the relaunch of “a massive awareness drive”.

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“Crowds are flouting Covid protocols, perhaps emboldened by partial vaccination, and inviting a possible third wave,” said a Nabanna official.

Districts like South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah, and East Midnapore, apart from the metropolitan areas of Calcutta have reportedly raised concerns again owing to the recent surge although the overall number of positive cases in the state has been dropping.

Sources at Nabanna and health department stressed on distribution and wearing of face masks. “Contact tracing and doorstep awareness drives by grassroots health workers will go on,” a state health directorate official added.

The state government has announced special vigilance at river jetties and tourist spots and will time schedules at local markets are obeyed. Separate control rooms at the sub divisional level and district headquarters at Alipore will monitor the overall situation 24/7, a district official added.

A senior official of the state health directorate said there was no room for risks at this juncture. “We must try to contain the surge at the earliest,” he said, adding that micro-containment zones, awareness drives and a mask-positive culture are steps towards this.

“We have started micro-containment zones at South 24-Parganas, which topped the chart of positive cases on Saturday with 89 cases,” the official added.

South 24-Parganas administration on Sunday announced 56 micro containment zones, mostly in Maheshtala, Bishnupur, Bhangar, Rajpur-Sonarpur, Narendrapur, Canning, Gosaba, Kakdwip, Sagar, Namkhana, Patharpratima, among others.

District magistrate P. Ulaganathan said: “There were some micro-containment zones, to which we have added areas from where new cases were traced, for instance Gosaba and Bishnupur-II.”

The objective of creating micro-containment zones is to cause minimal disruption to public life and economic activities, while at the same time containing the outbreak of Covid-19, an official of the South 24 Parganas district administration explained.

Sources said many health officials had recently attributed decreased contact tracing as a reason behind the recent spike. “We have told health authorities to avoid complacency regarding contact tracing as it could turn fatal”, a health official said.

South 24-Parganas district administration has announced plans to vaccinate the entire population in Sagar island before the Ganga Sagar pilgrimage scheduled for January next year. “Our target is to ensure two jabs for all people on the island, particularly those associated with the fair,” said BDO Sudipta Mondal.



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