West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said while the state is keeping an eye on the Covid situation after a recent spurt in China, the Gangasagar Mela (January 8-17) will go ahead.
“It will be systematic,” she said, when asked if the state was moving towards restrictions, “No, there is nothing here. If something happens, we will take precautions.”
On risks over transmission as there will be large crowds during the New Year festive season, she said, “Will people not celebrate festivals? If (a coronavirus surge) comes here, we will ask people to wear masks and take precautions. We can’t restrict so many people. Lakhs of people attend celebrations… I don’t want to presume it will come here. ”
However, based on an advisory from the union government, the state has issued a circular to health authorities to step up surveillance and genome sequencing to determine which variant is prevalent.
She was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Governor CV Ananda Bose, whom she described as “a gentleman [who] behaved very nicely — her effusive praise for him was seen as a subtle dig at the previous governor and now Vice-President of India, Jagdeep Dhankar, who was accused of playing politics at the behest of the Centre’s ruling BJP.
She said she discussed Covid with him, too, as part of their hour-long meet, which she described as a customary visit to greet him ahead of the Christmas and New Year.
Referring to how Bills passed by the assembly earlier were held up at Raj Bhavan, the Chief Minister said, “The governor is a gentleman and he behaved very nicely… He shares a good relationship with the state government, and I don’t think there will be anymore problems. We can discuss our problems openly. Everything can be sorted out through discussions. He is extending total cooperation to the state government, and we are grateful for it.”
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