Didi’s lessons on social distancing: Mamata Banerjee takes to Kolkata streets to fight Covid19
Banerjee is seen with a cloth wrapped around her face and drawing circles on the streets using a red brick as markers for people to stand maintaining the minimum required distance to avoid catching Covid-19 infection.
West Bengal chief minister is leading people in her state by example and demonstrating how to observe social distancing, while in public spaces, to prevent coronavirus from spreading further in the state that has reported 10 positive cases so far.
A three-minute video of Banerjee instructing vegetable vendors to ensure their customers maintain necessary distance from each other while shopping was posted by news agency ANI. The video also shows Banerjee herself marking the spots where each person should stand in a queue to buy vegetables.
Banerjee is seen with a cloth wrapped around her face with several state and police officials in toe along with media personnel eager to take a picture or film her during the act.
Several onlookers were also eagerly trying to take pictures of the chief minister, who seemed to have stepped out for an unannounced inspection on the streets of a Kolkata market.
Banerjee’s intervention follows reports of violation of social distancing norms from across the country, mostly by people engaged in panic buying of essentials while the country is in lockdown mode for a three week period, hoping to break the chain of Covid-19 infections.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reiterated the need to maintain a distance of at least one to 1.5 metres when in the company of people on the streets. Experts have also repeatedly stressed that coming in close proximity to an infected person can lead to disease transmission.
Banerjee seemed to be making a similar point in Bangla as she addressed the vendors and also the onlookers standing behind them.
A health ministry advisory on social distancing defines it as a “non-pharmaceutical infection prevention and control intervention” implemented to avoid contact between those who are infected with a disease-causing pathogen and those who are not, so as to “stop or slow down” the rate and extent of disease transmission in a community. This, the ministry adds, “eventually leads to a decrease in spread, morbidity and mortality” due to the disease.
Even on Thursday, several reports of people violating social distancing rules were received. Police in Karnataka was seen forcefully disbursing a gathering at a Mosque in Belgaum and in Uttar Pradesh, police were seen punishing people violating the lockdown orders.
Mamata Banerjee government also requested chief ministers of several other states to take care of the stranded migrant workers from the state who are facing hardships due to the lockdown