Even as more migrant workers returned to West Bengal from other state, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that she needed help from the Narendra Modi government.
The BJP meanwhile continued its attack on the TMC government over its response to the pandemic and the devastation caused by cyclone ‘Amphan’.
In other news, domestic flights are now functional from Kolkata airport from Thursday.
2,325 active cases
After 183 fresh cases were reported in the state, the number of active cases rose to 2,325.
While the state bulletin put the death toll at 217, without counting the 72 deaths it had report of Covid-19 patients with co-morbidities, the Union health ministry put it at 289.
The state has so far tested 1,66,513 samples.
Influx of migrant workers adds to Covid numbers
Health officials in the state say that a huge influx of migrant workers coming back home from other states have contributed to the rising number of coronavirus cases to the state.
PTI reported that among the new patients who tested positive in Bankura, 12 were migrant workers.
They had returned from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, district health officials said, adding that they are undergoing treatment at a designated hospital in Durgapur.
The Telegraph quoted state health department sources as saying nearly 100 new patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 were migrant workers.
All migrant workers from 5 states to be quarantined
Even as the state government said a day ago that not everyone returning from other states could be put in quarantine because of lack of infrastructure after cyclone Amphan, the government has now decided that all those returning from Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu will be quarantined for 14 days.
These five states account for the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee was quoted by The Telegraph as saying, “l of those coming from these five states would have to go in for mandatory institutional quarantine… After 14 days, if they are tested negative, they will be sent home. If any of them is tested positive, appropriate steps would be taken to ensure medical support.”
The government however maintained that migrant coming from all other states, who do not show symptoms, will be allowed to go home, but will have to be under quarantine.
Domestic flights resume ops from Kolkata, Bagdogra
Domestic flight operations to and from Kolkata resumed on Thursday. PTI reported that the first was a Guwahati-bound flight that left the airpot a 6:05 am with 40 passengers.
The first one to arrive in the state was a flight from New Delhi with 122 passengers.
Sources at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport told PTI that there would be 10 arrivals and 10 departures on Thursday.
Domestic flight operations will resume at Bagdogra airport in north Bengal too.
The West Bengal government had recently come up with a set of guidelines for people arriving in the state in domestic flights.
According to it, those entering the state from Thursday must submit a self-declaration form stating that they have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two months, according to an advisory of the Health Department.
The passengers will also need to undergo health screening after they arrive at the airport, the advisory said on Monday.
Arrangements for contact-less travel with social-distancing norms have been readied at the city airport to keep passengers safe from COVID-19, a top airport official said on Wednesday.
An “absolute contact-less procedure” with “least possible surface touch” will be provided to passengers from the time of entering the airport till boarding the flight under the new arrangement.
Need help from Centre, says Mamata
Given the situation in the state because of cyclone Amphan and Covid-19, Banerjee said it would been help from the Centre because of return of so many migrants from other states.
“I urge the Prime Minister and the Union home minister, please look into this seriously, so that Covid-19 does not increase and the people don’t have to suffer even more in the future…. This is not the time for politics. What can I do? In this situation, I would ask for the Prime Minsiter’s intervention in this. Please help us,” Banerjee was quoted by The Telegraph as saying.
While she has been at loggerheads with the BJP in the state and the Central government, this was the first time she softened her stance and asked for help.
The opposition BJP in West Bengal listed nine “failures” of the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal as it sharpened its attack on the Mamata Banerjee dispensation on Wednesday over the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the devastation caused by cyclone ‘Amphan’, reported PTI.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the list has been prepared in view of the present situation in West Bengal. The party said that the government has squarely failed in tackling the COVID-19 crisis and the state’s health infrastructure is on the verge of collapse.
This, Ghosh said, has threatened the lives of the people.
The BJP also charged the government for “failing” to deal with the devastation caused by the cyclone.
Even after seven days, people of the state are in distress as many areas are still without electricity and water, he said.
The BJP also attacked the government, alleging failure in distributing foodgrains among the people, among several other things.
(With PTI inputs)