Covid-19 pandemic: Kolkata stabilises, government focus on districts outside epicentre

The situation in Kolkata has been improving as it recorded fewer than 1,000 cases on Thursday for the first time since April 10. For the health department, the situation in places such as Nadia, Medinipur, Darjeeling has been alarming.

Though Kolkata and its neighbouring districts have been the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in Bengal since it began, more districts outside this hotbed of infection logged a consistent rise in cases during the second wave and emerged as areas of concern for the state health department along with North 24 Parganas, where the infection count has been far higher than the capital this time around.

The situation in Kolkata has been improving as it recorded fewer than 1,000 cases on Thursday for the first time since April 10. For the health department, the situation in places such as Nadia, Medinipur, Darjeeling has been alarming.

A senior official from the Department of Health said, “Kolkata and its surrounding four districts have been at the centre of the pandemic. But, in the second wave, many other districts such as Nadia, Darjeeling, West and East Midnapore, and West Burdwan were also affected.”

The official pointed out that these districts were among the populous ones in the state, and added, “Population and mixing of people are the main causes for the spread of infection. So, vaccination and lockdown are the only two solutions to decrease the number of cases in these districts. We are just concentrating on that only.”

Though the vaccination drive has focussed mostly on Kolkata and its neighbouring districts, the government is keen on quickly stepping up inoculation in the seven to eight new areas of concern.

“The vaccination scarcity is now decreasing. Vaccines are now available as the state is procuring them from the open market. First, the government started the vaccination drive in Kolkata, Now, we are planning to increase the inoculation drive in these other districts [of concern] as soon as possible. A strict lockdown-like situation will also be enforced in these districts at least till June 30 to control the spread of the disease,” said the health official.

In the last one month, North 24 Parganas recorded the highest number of cases in the state at 1,11,981, followed by 96,126 in Kolkata. These two were followed by South 24 Parganas’ 33,639, Howrah’s 33,589 cases and 30,410 in Hooghly. These districts in the epicentre were closely followed by Nadia (28,088 cases in a month); East Midnapore (22,051), West Burdwan (21,732), West Midnapore (20,015).

Meanwhile, 7,913 people were found infected with coronavirus while another 113 people died.

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