Doctors have 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 trains with compartments crammed, as services resumed after seven months.
Doctors said such violations were 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 trains, risking the lives of people who are not taking proper precautions,” 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 trains for different purposes. Those travelling to visit their relatives should not have been allowed,” said Dr Konar.
Senior physician Dr Syamasis Bandyopadhyay, however, said it will take a couple of days for commuters to understand and practice safety norms while travelling on 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 responsibility 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.
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.