Kolkata, Oct 10 (PTI) Careless attitude of people in wearing masks and following other health safety norms in public places is leading to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in West Bengal, doctors said on Saturday.
The reopening of commercial activities, a step necessitated by the condition of the country's economy after months of lockdown, is also contributing to the spike in coronavirus cases as people started gathering in markets and shopping malls and meeting in hotels and restaurants ahead of the festive season, they said.
'It is an alarming situation. It's very unfortunate to see people are not following the health safety norms set by experts to fight against the pandemic. Only 30 per cent of people are wearing masks in public places.
'One can see huge crowds in the markets. This is not acceptable. Careless attitude of people is the main reason behind the surge in coronavirus cases,' Beliaghata ID Hospital principal professor (Dr) Anima Haldar told PTI.
Echoing Haldar, M R Bangur Hospital superintendent Dr Sisir Naskar said people have become careless in wearing masks and maintaining social distancing norms.
'The nosophobia about the infection, which was primarily there during the initial days of the pandemic, has eased. The coronavirus fatality ratio has come down, which also brings complacency among people. They are coming out of their homes without adequate precautionary measures,' Naskar said.
Expressing his concern about the rise in fresh cases, Dr Hiralal Konar, a paediatrician, said violations of the health protocols will complicate the COVID-19 situation in the state.
Overcrowded public buses, large gatherings in markets and frequent travelling in the run-up to Durga puja festival have increased the risk of getting infected with the disease, he said.
'The surge in fresh cases is not only witnessed in the city but also in towns of West Bengal as movements have been allowed. We need to keep a check on this,' Konar told PTI.
Amid the recent rise in coronavirus cases in the state, doctors have already written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, urging her to take strict measures to restrict public gatherings during Durga puja, as it might 'lead to a tsunami' of infections.
Kolkata has been witnessing an average of 741 new cases in the last five days, while neighbouring North 24 Parganas recorded 730.
The average number of infection in the first five days of September in the city was 477 and North 24 Parganas at 650.
West Bengal on Friday recorded the highest single-day spike of 3,573 new COVID-19 cases, taking its tally to 2,87,603, as per a bulletin issued by the Health Department.
The toll rose to 5,501 with 62 more deaths, it said.
Doctors also urged the government to start a massive awareness drive in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.
'We need to work out a plan to make people aware of the situation. In the city, we can do it through radio, television and mass media, while in the districts we can hire small groups of people to visit every household,' Haldar added. PTI SCH BDC BDC