Kolkata

West Bengal cancels events as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Until recently, the State, particularly capital Kolkata, appeared split into two camps: those who took the fresh surge in COVID-19 cases seriously, and those who had dropped guard.

Until recently, the State, particularly capital Kolkata, appeared split into two camps: those who took the fresh surge in COVID-19 cases seriously, and those who had dropped guard.

 

West Bengal on Wednesday swiftly got into the cancellation mode, calling off several events scheduled this month, in an acknowledgement that a possible third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is setting in.

The Kolkata International Film Festival, scheduled to be held between January 7 and 14, was “deferred” and a bunch of popular music festivals, including the Dover Lane Music Conference, also stood cancelled. Organisers of the Kolkata Book Fair, scheduled to begin on January 31, are waiting for instructions from the State Government.

 

The Calcutta High Court is currently hearing a writ petition seeking the cancellation of the Ganga Sagar Mela that is scheduled to be held in the State’s Sagar island from January 8 to 16. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from across the country attend this festival every year and many of them have already arrived. The court on Wednesday sought the State Government’s response on what it intended to do about the event.

Until recently, the State, particularly capital Kolkata, appeared split into two camps: those who took the fresh surge in COVID-19 cases seriously, and those who had dropped guard because the Omicron variant that’s contributing to the surge is considered to be less severe. This, in spite of the State Government announcing a new set of restrictions as the number of cases began to explode.

But with the positivity rate now jumping up from 1.5% to 19% in just a span of 10 days and many of those infected reporting symptoms that are not quite mild, panic appears to be slowly setting in. Chartered accountant Praggamoy Dasgupta, who lost his father to the second wave and who himself got infected at the time, has found himself to be COVID-positive once again.

 

“This time I’ve symptoms unlike last time. Since Monday I had a sore throat and runny nose. I tested yesterday and the report was positive. CT score is 16, compared to 28 the last time. I have a history of travelling to Bhubaneswar in the week gone by; I guess buffet spread in hotels must stop,” Mr. Dasgupta told The Hindu .

Dr. Koushik Chaki of the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum — the organisation on Wednesday was made a party in the case related to the Ganga Sagar Mela being heard in the High Court — said the time had come to press the “alert button” and not the “panic button”.

“Kolkata alone has recorded over 4,000 positives in a single day and we are in the initial phase of the third wave. What is worrying is the fact that already a significant proportion of doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff has been infected across hospitals. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get a booster dose, wear a mask in public places, wash hands and avoid gatherings,” said Dr Chaki.


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Printable version | May 14, 2022 10:38:54 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/west-bengal-cancels-events-as-covid-19-cases-continue-to-rise/article38132697.ece