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India

Updated on: Sunday, December 26, 2021, 05:36 PM IST

Kolkata's Park Street crowded on Christmas eve, health experts express concern fearing Omicron wave

Virologists and public health experts felt an urgent clampdown is needed to avoid a repeat of such mass gatherings with Covid inappropriate behaviour
PTI
Photo: Twitter Image

Photo: Twitter Image

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A day after the city saw huge crowds of mid-night revellers thronging the eastern metropolis's busy Park Street to celebrate Christmas, health experts and doctors cautioned the state government against allowing more such gatherings, especially during the New Year festivities, pointing to the rising number of Covid cases in the country and emergent threat from a more virulent Omicron strain.

Experts pointed out that the state authorities which had earned kudos for managing crowds during Durga Puja two months back, should not have relaxed their guard during the Christmas festival which is also a popular festive occasion given the fact that people are suffering from "Covid fatigue" and were likely to dispel with safety norms.

Virologists and public health experts felt an urgent clampdown is needed to avoid a repeat of such mass gatherings with Covid inappropriate behaviour during the New Year celebrations.

"It seems the administration failed last night. There has to be a strict approach given that there are expectations of a surge in COVID cases especially with the advent of the Omicron variant. We expected the government as well as common people to be more responsible," Dr Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, Associate Professor of Burdwan Medical College, who has been handling COVID cases told PTI.

Such revelry, throwing Covid safety protocols to the winds, would give a big push to the number of daily Covid-19 infections, he believed. India reported some 6,987 fresh Covid cases on Saturday with West Bengal accounting for 552 cases.

Beliaghata ID hospital Principal Dr Anima Haldar also held the government and the police administration responsible for letting people gather in such large numbers on Christmas night in Park Street.

The state government has relaxed night curfew restrictions for nine days during the Christmas and New Year festive seasons. Not only did large crowds surge through the central business district of Park Street, most clubs and hotels also had full houses during Christmas lunches and evening entertainments.

Whereas, BJP MLA from Asansol South Agnimitra Paul targeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, accusing the CM of endangering the lives of people.

"Welcome OMICRON! To the CITY of CHAPPA! @MamataOfficial to please the people of GOA are you not putting the people BENGAL at DANGER?? You have been proved by your own GOA MLA that you are playing dirty divisive politics of HATE!" Agnimitra Paul tweeted.

Till Sunday morning, West Bengal has reported six cases of the Omicron variant.

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Published on: Sunday, December 26, 2021, 05:36 PM IST
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