Workers move medical oxygen cylinders to refill, amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in Kolkata on Wednesday, April 28. (PTI)
Workers move medical oxygen cylinders to refill, amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in Kolkata on Wednesday, April 28. (PTI)

Elections over, Bengal focuses on checking Covid-19 surge

The number of people booked daily for violating safety norms, such as not wearing masks, has shot up over the past few days even as the police enforce Covid protocols and spread awareness among citizens
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
UPDATED ON APR 30, 2021 11:48 AM IST

With the curtain coming down on a month-long poll season in West Bengal, the focus of district and police administrations have shifted to tackling the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases.

The number of people booked daily for violating safety norms, such as not wearing masks, has shot up over the past few days even as the police enforce Covid protocols and spread awareness among citizens.

On April 29, the Kolkata Police booked 303 people for not wearing masks.

Last year in October, when the daily count of Covid-19 cases had hit a peak during the first wave, the city police had booked as many as 700 persons on a single day for not wearing masks.

“We have started enforcing the Covid-19 protocols more strictly. But our main stress is on spreading awareness among the people instead of penalising them,” said a senior Kolkata Police official.

Also Read | Exit polls predict photo finish for TMC, BJP in Bengal, BJP’s return in Assam

The daily count of Covid-19 case has shot up from 216 on February 26 to 17,403 on Thursday, a jump of more than 80%. Kolkata has been reporting the highest number of fresh cases every day followed by the two adjacent districts of North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas. On Thursday, Kolkata registered 3,901 new cases.

In the districts too, police were seen out on the streets, enforcing safety protocols and making people aware by making announcement on loudspeakers and distributing masks.

While at Purulia, police could be seen forcing violators to do push-ups on the road, at Canning in South 24 Parganas, people were asked to do sit-ups holding their ears.

“Awareness campaigns against corona have started in full swing. Now that elections are over, we have been asked to focus on this,” said a block development officer of South 24 Parganas.

On April 24, ahead of the seventh phase polls, the state government had made it mandatory for people to wear mask in public places.

“District and police authorities have been asked to take strict actions against violators. Cases shall be started and prosecutions should be initiated strictly, said a government order on April 24,” said a senior state government official.

At Shantipur in Nadia, some walls which were used for political graffiti during election campaigns have been painted white and new graffiti on Covid-19 has come up at the same place.

“Immediately after the polls, we were asked to focus on spreading awareness on Covd-19. We have started distributing pamphlets, and masks,” said a block development officer of Dakshin Dinajpur district.

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