NEWS
04/06/2020 12:40 PM IST

West Bengal Says Priority Is To Bring Down Covid-19 Deaths; Mamata Banerjee Takes On Critics

Coronavirus in cases in West Bengal rose to a total of 6,508cases, while the number of active cases rose to 3,583.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A masked Indian commuter speaks on a mobile phone as he travels in an interstate bus in Kolkata, on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

West Bengal on Wednesday recorded 340 new cases of Covid-19 and 10 more deaths from the novel coronavirus. 

While the government has said that the number of cases are likely to increase in the coming days, the government has said that the foremost priority now was to decrease the number of deaths in the state. 

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at her opponents on Wednesday asking why migrant workers were not brought back earlier, while saying they were trying to provoke those returning to the state. 

Amid lack of private buses in the state, that make up for much of the fleet of the state’s public transport, the government set up a panel to review fares. 

3,583 active cases

The bulletin by the West Bengal government on Wednesday said that active cases had risen to 3,583 after the state recorded 340 new Covid-19 cases. 

The total number of confirmed cases in the state stood at 6,508. 

The bulletin said that the total number of deaths was at 273, after 10 more people died in the state of the novel coronavirus. This was without counting the death of 72 Covid-19 patients that the state said was due to co-morbidities, and that the Covid-19 was only incidental. 

The Union health ministry put the total death toll in West Bengal from Covid-19 at 345, counting those 72 deaths. 

The bulletin said that so far 2,580 people have been cured of the disease. 

Bringing down mortality rate a priority, says govt 

The number of Covid-19 patients in the state have increased manifolds in the last few days. The state government said that this was because large numbers of people, working outside the state were coming back home. 

In light of the situation, sources in the government said that the increase in numbers should not create panic in the state, and the government was analysing how patients are being treated to ensure the number or deaths in the state reduced. 

Anandabazar Patrika quoted a senior health official as saying, “The number of infections will increase now. But there is no reason to panic. Our main aim is to reduce the number of deaths. We are analysing the protocols being followed to prevent deaths in the state. The situation has improved in MR Bangur (a designated Covid hospital in Kolkata). If the situation is improved in the Calcutta Medical College then things will improve further.”

Mamata lashes out

Amid criticism over the lack of facilities for migrants arriving in the state, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday that people were being provoked in the state. 

Banerjee lashed out at the BJP and the Centre that has criticised the West Bengal government over the Covid-19 crisis. She was quoted by The Telegraph as saying, “Why couldn’t they, who have so much to say now, ensure that the migrant workers and others were brought back to their states 72 hours before the lockdown was implemented? Why wasn’t it planned? This would have saved them three months of suffering.”

Banerjee also criticised the Railways for not ensuring social distancing norms in trains and putting migrant workers in more danger. 

Panel for private buses

Private buses operators in West Bengal have said that they their fleet will be back in the streets from Thursday after they met the transport minister over review of bus fares. 

The operators had said that it would not be monetarily feasible for them to run buses with only as many passengers as the number of seats. 

The Telegraph reported that the West Bengal government has set up regulatory commission, even as the transport minister Suvendu Adhikari said that he asked minibus and private bus operators to resume services. 

The reported quoted West Bengal Bus Minibus Owners’ Association member Pradip Narayan Bose as saying, “We have listened to what the transport minister said… we will resume operations from Thursday. The government has accepted our proposal. We’ve been told that representatives from bus and minibus unions will be members of the commission.”

(With PTI inputs)

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