The death toll in the state rose to 432.
In a bid to reduce contact, as government offices reopened, the West Bengal government said that offices will run in shifts.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she did not use the words “corona express” for Shramik special trains.
The state also changed rules on how bodies of those who died of coronavirus will be disposed.
5,117 active cases
The number of active Covid-19 positive cases rose to 5,117 after 343 fresh coronavirus cases were recorded on Wednesday.
The death toll rose to 432 after 17 more people died in the state.
West Bengal has so far reported 9,328 cases in the state.
According to the state bulletin 3,779 have been discharged.
Change in rules for arrivals from hotspot areas
While the West Bengal government had earlier said that it was mandatory for those arriving in the state from Covid hotspots like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Delhi or Madhya Pradesh to stay in quarantine for 14 days, now the government has reduced it to 7 days.
The Telegraph quoted chief minister Mamata Banerjee as saying that people would be tested after 7 days. Those who tested negative would be allowed to go home.
Health officials told the newspaper that this system would reduce the burden on the state.
The Telegraph quoted an unnamed official as saying, “Keeping migrants who are travelling from faraway states at quarantine centres for 14 days and waiting to see if they develop symptoms is not practical as lakhs of people are coming in. Cutting down the quarantine period would ease the burden on the state.”
Shifts for govt employees
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday that the attendance of officers and staff up to the level of deputy secretary will be staggered.
While the first shift will be from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm, the second shift will be from 12.30 pm to 5.30 pm, she said.
“The manner in which the coronavirus is spreading is a matter of concern. I will request people to maintain social distancing. We will also consider people coming late to work. We have taken the decision of introducing shifts to help people in this scenario,” PTI quoted Banerjee as saying.
For the officers above the rank of deputy secretary who use official vehicles, there will be no such staggering of work hours, she said.
The order will be effective from Thursday.
Change in rules for cremation of victims
PTI reported that the ashes of those who have died of Covid-19 in Kolkata will now be cremated according to their religious practices and will be handed over to their families.
The report said that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation has also decided to allow the family members and kin of the victims who are buried to pay their last respect from a distance, he said.
However, KMC will not hand over the ashes of the patients’ navel after cremation for fear of transmission of the contagion, he said.
So far, the civic body was not informing the families of coronavirus victims where their bodies were cremated or buried.
“We have been getting requests from the kin of coronavirus victims to allow them to be present during the last rites. We consulted specialists and have decided to hand over the ashes to them after the cremation of the victims. But not the ashes of the navel (which are usually immersed in rivers by Hindus) as it may cause the disease to spread,” an official told PTI.
The KMCs decision came after the state health department decided to allow relatives of COVID-19 victims see their bodies on following strict protocols.
Didn’t say ‘corona express’, says Mamata
Banerjee on Wednesday squarely refuted the allegations mad by Union home minister Amit Shah during a political rally in West Bengal.
The Telegraph quoted Banerjee as saying, “Many of you (the media) misinterpreted… I had never said Corona Express. I had said the public had said. If you take out my statement of the first day (May 29)… I was telling you that the public had been saying so.”
Banerjee also lashed out at the BJP saying given there was a pandemic, the destruction caused by cyclone Amphan, and it was malicious for the BJP to be doing politics.
Not only has the BJP been critical of the way the Covid-19 crisis has been handled in Bengal, Amit Shah on Tuesday accused the TMC government of being apathetic to the plight of migrant workers.
(With PTI inputs)