Kolkata: Doctors expressed concern over flouting of COVID-19 safety norms in local trains after services were resumed Wednesday. Local trains had stopped plying in this city and other parts of West Bengal since lockdown was implemented in March. However, flouting of COVID-19 guidelines by the commuters has left the doctors in shock. They have warned that the pandemic situation would deteriorate unless protocols were put in place and implemented.
People jostled at several stations to catch the trains with compartments crammed as services resumed after seven months Wednesday morning.
Doctors said that such violations are ideal for the spread of the virus. They said that such incidents would diminish 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. 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. They are risking the lives of people who are not taking proper precaution,” he added.
Dr Hiralal Konar of the ‘Joint Platform of Doctors’ blamed improper planning by West Bengal government and 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,” Dr Konar said. “More planning was required keeping in mind that different people travel on the trains for different purposes. Passengers should only travel for official purposes. Going for rides to see relatives or friends should not be allowed,” he asserted.
Senior physician Dr Syamasis Bandyopadhyay, however gave the benefit of doubt to the commuters. He said it will take a couple of days for the commuters to understand and practice the safety norms. “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 protocols,” he said. “I believe the sense of responsibility will grow in a couple of days. We have to wait and see,” Dr Bandyopadhyay added.