Kolkata

Doctors, fearing ‘tsunami’ of COVID-19 cases after Durga Puja, caution Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Doctors in West Bengal have written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asking her to take strict measures to check crowding during Durga Puja as they feared a ‘tsunami’ of COVID-19 cases after the festival.

Durga Puja is barely two weeks away and people have already started making purchases, with many iconic stores in Kolkata packed with shoppers. This at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases in the State and Kolkata is only climbing. On Tuesday, 85-year-old Soumitra Chatterjee, one of Bengal’s most respected actors, was admitted to Bellevue Clinic after testing positive.

Supporting their letter with a three-day moving-average graph that showed a steep rise in the number of cases in the State after Mahalaya and Vishwakarma Puja, the letter, written by the Joint Platform of Doctors, said: “Giving priority to emotions has resulted in serious neglect of safety protocols. In Kerala, after Onam celebrations, the infection rate went up by 750%. That is why Section 144 had to be imposed there.”

The letter reminded the Chief Minister that though Durga Puja was a much-awaited festival, one should not forget that this was the time of a pandemic, when Ganesh Chaturthi was low-key in Maharashtra and when Dandiya and Garba stand cancelled in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

“Even in our State, Id and Muharram were observed indoors. The noticeable rise in the number of cases after Mahalaya and Vishwakarma Puja is an indication of things to come. Therefore, any laxity in maintaining health protocols during Durga Puja can be suicidal. There will be a tsunami of cases and the situation will spiral out of control,” said the letter signed by Dr. Hiralal Konar and Dr. Punyabrata Gun.

Saying the sacrifices and efforts made by healthcare workers all these months cannot be allowed to go in vain for the sake of festivities lasting a few days, the letter urged the Chief Minister to ensure that crowding did not take place during the festival and that people stepping out of their homes compulsorily wore masks.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 12:01:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/doctors-fearing-tsunami-of-covid-19-cases-after-puja-caution-mamata/article32782611.ece

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