With the entire country fighting for the deadly coronavirus pandemic, Bengal is also witnessing a spike in the infection as the state prepares for resuming normal activities and businesses. There are several reasons which are helping in the spreading of the infection.
As India struggles with the deadly pandemic, the cases of the infection seem to be rising in various states like Msharashtra Gujarat and West Bengal. Recently on June 2, the state of Bengal recorded the highest single-day spike in 24 hours with 396 people testing positive for COVID in the state in 24 hours. The Mamata Banerjee government has announced various relaxations in terms of the unlocking of the lockdown and this has led to people rushing out in large numbers and gathering out on streets and commuting. The BJP unit in Bengal has been accusing the TMC government of controlling the situation in the state with social distancing norms being flouted and with few transports being allowed to ply, commuters have been gathering in front of bus stops without maintaining social distancing.
As per sources, the area of the containment zones will also be reduced. This is to allay fears of the people in the state and that they do not face any inconvenience. The rule will be that the entire neighbourhoods will not be locked down if one or two people are tested positive of COViD 19. Similarly, there will be new rules issued by the government, for complexes and buildings.
The sudden surge of cases in Bengal has become yet another challenge for the Bengal government There was a sudden spike which was witnessed during the infamous Tablighi episode, now another significant factor for the spike is the returning of hundreds and thousands of migrant workers from all over the country and figures will exponentially increase. The key states being Bihar, Jharkhand, UP, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal. In Bengal the poor healthy infrastructure st the district level is another challenge for the government. To contain the spread a complete health SOP is required to be followed like increasing the surveillance and their contract tracing. The state of the quarantine facilities and infrastructure quality are also factors which the state government has to look into as they re also factors for spreading of the virus. Initially, the Bengal government was reluctant to allow shramik trains in the state, however, has now announced to allow around 105 special shramik train for the state.
The cyclone Amphan has also added to the misery of Bengal with lakhs of people rendered homeless in the districts of East Midnapore, Howrah and North 24 Parganas, there have been several shelter homes made for the people by the state administration where social distancing seems like a luxury. In a bid to provide shelter to peo0ple during the cyclone, several [people were shifted to shelters where there is no form of social distancing maintained.
The government distributed more than two lakh face masks among the evacuees and personal protective equipment (PPE) kits were given out to the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel who have been deployed in the volatile areas, confirmed senior officials. However, most of the evacuees are still in the shelters as their homes totally destroyed in the cyclone are getting restored. Most of the cyclone centres are filled up with the migrant labourers who have returned from other states and are in quarantine. It is very difficult for them to follow the norms in an overcrowded centre.
As Bengal begins its unlocking activities and businesses are gearing up to resume with the fear of infection spreading rapidly. After two months of a gap the shooting of television serials will commence announced the state government There are other businesses which are likely to resume like the restraint industry and public transport.
Another significant factor which has come to light is the unhealthy conditions of the quarantine facilities which is making patients run away from them. Experts say that this also is another reason for the spike in cases in the state. Many people have been reported people running away from quarantine facilities from Birbhum, South 24 Parganas, Malda and Murshidabad districts as migrant workers complained about the unhygienic facilities.
However, despite the sudden surge in the number of cases, the COVID-19 recovery rate crossed the 40 per cent mark for the first time in Bengal recently which seems to be one positive sign in the wake of a huge influx of migrant labourers and stranded individuals elsewhere in the country during the first three phases of the lockdown.