Bengal: Doctors express concern as people flout COVID norms on local trains

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Kolkata, Nov 11 (PTI) Doctors expressed concern over flouting of COVID safety norms in suburban trains that resumed services in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal on Wednesday, warning that the pandemic situation would deteriorate.

People jostled at several stations to catch the trains with compartments crammed as services resumed after seven months in the morning.

Doctors said that such violations are ideal for the spread of the virus, diminishing the gains made over the past few weeks in the fight against the contagion.

'We can clearly see people are not abiding by the COVID-19 safety protocols and this is definitely a matter of concern for us,' said Dr Anirban Dalui, a public health specialist.

'The problem is that those who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms are travelling on the trains, risking the lives of people who are not taking proper precaution,' he said.

Dr Hiralal Konar of the Joint Platform of Doctors blamed improper planning by the state government and the railways for the violations.

'The situation is quite alarming. I fear that if it goes on, the virus will spread to a level where it will be beyond control,' he told PTI.

'More planning was required keeping in mind that different people travel on the trains for different purposes.

Those travelling to visit their relatives should not have been allowed. The government and the railways got ample to do the planning, but they could not,' Dr Konar said.

Senior physician Dr Syamasis Bandyopadhyay, however, said that it will take a couple of days for the commuters to understand and practice the safety norms while travelling on the suburban trains.

'The situation is a concern for us but the government or the railways cannot be blamed. The common people have to show some responsibilities to maintain the physical distancing and follow the protocols while travelling,' he said.

'I believe the sense of responsibility will grow in a couple of days. We have to wait and see,' Dr Bandyopadhyay said.

The local train services under the jurisdiction of the Eastern and the South Eastern Railways have resumed. They were suspended in March as the nation went into a lockdown with the detection of COVID-19 cases. PTI SCH SOM SOM