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Covid protocols trashed as crowds throng Kolkata’s Park Street to celebrate Christmas

Christmas night on Park Street in Kolkata (Pic: India Narrative)

It was surely not a ‘silent night’ on Christmas in Kolkata. Frenzy gripped Kolkata’s Park Street and the adjoining areas, as scores of people – most of them without masks– gathered to celebrate Christmas.  Restaurants, pubs and discotheques remained open way past midnight. Not just Christmas but the following day too saw large gatherings on the street with serpentine queues outside popular restaurants and street joints such as Mocambo, Peter Cat and Kusum Rolls.

People of all age groups gathered singing, dancing and merrily posing for photographs on Park Street

The restaurants were packed to capacity even as Kolkata reported its first Omicron case on Friday. Discotheques on Park Street including the popular Tantra drew crowds, who partied, drank and danced.

Also read: India’s Omicron count goes up to 578, Delhi leads with 142 cases

Needless to say, Covid protocols sounded alien as the Trinamool Congress government relaxed norms for the Christmas-New Year period.  One could even catch a glimpse of a poster thanking state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for allowing the celebrations to take place.

At a time when most other metros including Delhi and Mumbai are already looking at implementing stricter Covid norms amid rising concerns over the Omicron variant of the virus, many have raised questions over the state government’s decision.

The state government has relaxed Covid norms for nine days from December 24 allowing movement of people and vehicles between 11 pm and 5 am.

On December 15, West Bengal reported its first Omicron case when a seven-year-old boy. He had returned from Abu Dhabi. Subsequently on December 23, two more Omicron cases were reported in the state—one who returned from Nigeria and the other from the UK.

“The government should have put in place strict measures especially since there have been warnings over the new super spreader variant, there was absolutely no need to take this risk,” a resident of Kolkata said.