Kolkata celebrates New Year's Eve with caution

Kolkata celebrates New Year's Eve with caution

Park Street, Kolkata's most frequented venue on New Year's Eve, is under strict vigilance

People are silhouetted against the setting sun over the Ganga river on the last day of 2021, in Kolkata, Friday, December 31, 2021. Credit: PTI Photo

While coronavirus infections in West Bengal witnessed a sudden surge of 1089 cases on Wednesday, 2128 on Thursday, to 3451 on Friday, the West Bengal government is attempting a balancing act - permitting celebrations and revelry, but with caution.

Kolkata, on Friday, reported 1954 cases, the most of the state's total infections.

The genome sequencing reports received by the state health department on Thursday added five more Omicron cases, raising the number of such cases in Bengal to 16. 

“Positivity rate of Kolkata is changing daily,” said a state health official. 

“The cases are increasing at a high speed and we must take all precautions to restrict the spread. We are also trying to increase the test to detect more (cases) so that we can isolate them and prevent a rapid spread,” the official added.

Also read: Need to bring back Covid curbs in Kolkata in light of Christmas crowds, say experts

Private hospitals have been asked to gear up, and scale up beds, and maintain sufficient stock of vaccines.

Major thoroughfares are being patrolled by police officials. Park Street, Kolkata's most frequented venue on New Year's Eve, is under strict vigilance. Special arrangements have been made for the crowd.

Kolkata Police have stated that while the people have the scope to celebrate, it should not happen at the cost of compromising personal and public safety, and Covid norms should be observed.

Several high-profile clubs have also called off New Year celebrations as a precautionary measure. 

Dr Santanu Sen, state secretary, Indian Medical Association, (and Rajya Sabha MP) told DH that people, in general, have become reluctant and are participating in public gatherings without masks. 

Sen claimed that previously the Bengal government had taken proper measures at the proper time, and it helped in keeping infections under control, unlike many other states. “IMA strongly believes that mass public awareness is important. IMA also requests the administration to take proper steps at proper time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already made it clear that a total restriction on public activities could hamper the economy. After a review meeting, on Monday, several restrictions are expected to be in place.

Check out latest videos from DH:

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox