COVID Positivity Rate Vaults To 33% In Kolkata; Will Gangasagar Mela Be Cancelled?

Kolkata: The country continues to add COVID-positive cases at a galloping pace, with some cities recording an alarming number of new coronavirus infections.

Hours after the West Bengal government announced a slew of COVID-related stringent measures on Sunday to rein in the spread of cases amid an Omicron-driven spike, the Health department released data for the last 24 hours which is quite scary.

West Bengal reported 6,153 infections on Sunday, with Kolkata alone contributing 3,194 (above 50% of state’s tally). The capital city’s positivity rate reached a stupendous 33%. Which means of 100 COVID tests conducted, 33 are positive.

West Bengal’s total cases was 4,512 on Saturday, with Kolkata reporting 2,398 (again over 50% of the state).

Some medical experts reiterated the call to cancel the Gangasagar Mela, which is held over a period of Makar Sankranti in the second week of January. It’s the biggest pilgrimage fair in eastern India where lakhs of devotees converge at Sagar Island to take the holy dip on sacred Sakranti.

It could be a potential COVID mega-spreader event, but West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is keen that it goes ahead.

“You don’t worry about Gangasagar,” she said when asked whether it will be called off. “This is not mine, but a festival attended by people from across the country. How can I stop someone coming from UP or Bihar? I can’t stop anyone as Gangasagar belongs to everyone in the country,” the CM said two days ago, adding that people should be conscious and follow COVID-19 norms.

The Centre is yet to interfere on this state issue, but if lessons have been learnt from last year’s Kumbh Mela, the last may not have been heard of the Gangasagar Mela.

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