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Take steps to check Covid spread during polls: Docs

Kolkata: West Bengal Doctors' Forum (WBDF) has written to the Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora, urging him to take measures for containing the spread of Covid infection during polls.

In its letter, the WBDF pointed out that a strict enforcement of standard Covid guidelines may check the spread of infection. But if Covid protocols are not properly followed at the election rallies and political gatherings, cases of infection may witness a surge, warned the doctors' organisation.

"It is a matter of extreme concern that we are witnessing large scale gatherings in public meetings, road shows, rallies without compliance to COVID protocols like use of masks and physical distancing etc. This is in sharp contrast to and deviation from what is being continuously campaigned by the governments, doctors and other relevant organisations," reads the letter. WBDF, one of the largest organisations of doctors in the state, requested the CEC to enforce strict guidelines for all political parties and their leaders to mandatorily follow the instructions in the best interest of the people they seek to represent in the Assembly.

The letter also says that the cases of COVID-19 had been falling steadily after it hit the peak in late September last year. But, the recent figures indicate that the numbers are rising again. Among several other factors, an increase in the number of public gatherings and laxity towards maintaining the public health guidelines for Covid prevention led to the latest surge.

Dr Rajiv Pandey, Dr Punyabrata Goon and Dr Koushik Lahiri who wrote the letter on behalf of WBDF claimed that there was a lack of awareness among people. They claimed wide scale availability of vaccines to every citizen in the country remains a challenge.

A positive message must be delivered by the leaders of various political parties so that the cadres uphold best practice to avoid infection, the letter cited.

"We hope that the election related Covid protocols are strictly followed. The EC should take written declaration from all participating candidates that they will follow guidelines. We also urge the Commission to take steps against the candidates who fail to follow the guidelines," says the letter.

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