Kolkata, April 17 (IANS) Admitting that the Covid-19 situation in parts of Howrah was very bad, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday asked top cops to deploy armed police in some of the areas of the district as also in a few zones of Kolkata to ensure that people stayed at their homes and maintained social distancing norms in the markets.
The Chief Minister, accompanied by some senior officials, held a video conference with district magistrates and police superintendents from the state secretariat Nabanna, and asked them to work round the clock to battle the disease and prevent its community transmission.
She announced that a number of areas in several districts have been designated as very sensitive and sensitive, and for the first time mentioned red, orange and green zones — demarcations announced by the Central government earlier a identify areas based on the prevalence of positive coronavirus cases.
Till Thursday, the Mamata Banerjee-led government was reluctant to use these terms.
While red zone denotes areas with substantial numbers of positive cases, where complete restriction is to be imposed, orange zone refers to areas with a limited number of cases in the past and with no surge in positive cases recently, where restricted activities such as farm product harvesting are allowed. Districts with no coronavirus positive cases are included in green zones.
The Centre had designated Howrah, East Midnapore, Kolkata and North 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal as red zones. However, Banerjee said that East Midnapore has already entered into orange zone.
“The situation in Howrah is very bad. If from transmission within the family it reaches the stage of community transmission, then lots of people will be affected. If need be, armed police should be deployed in the sensitive areas like the Howrah market where huge crowds are gathering and social distancing norms are not being maintained,” Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister named Howrah, Urban, Malipanchghara, Dhulagarh, Shibpur and Sankrail as the high risk areas.
She urged people not to go out of home and said the police will reach food items to them if needed.
Banerjee said some wards in Kolkata were also sensitive and asked city police commissioner Anuj Sharma to post armed police personnel there.
“Stop social mixing, roadside chit chats. Police should impose restrictions in markets in these areas. More than five people should not be allowed to queue up in front of a shop. Nobody would be allowed to enter markets without masks. Sanitisers are also mandatory at the entrances of every market,” she said.
Banerjee categorically told the officials that Howrah should be in orange zone within 14 days.
“Similarly, Kolkata also has to be in orange zone from red zone, and then finally in green zone. The matter has to be handled strongly and seriously,” she added.