NEWS
02/06/2020 1:02 PM IST

Lockdown 5.0 In West Bengal: Covid-19 Cases Rise To 5,772; Social Distancing Norms Flouted

Government officials said coronavirus test results in West Bengal were getting delayed because of the large number of tests being carried out and that could increase chances of transmission.

NurPhoto via Getty Images
Workers carry sacks filled with sugar to load them onto a supply truck at a wholesale market after the government eased restrictions imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Kolkata, India on June 01,2020.

West Bengal on Monday reported that 271 new patients tested positive for Covid-19, while eight more people died of the disease in the state. 

As the state relaxed lockdown measures, reports said that social distancing norms were violated, even as the number of cases continued to increase. 

The Mamata Banerjee government decided that passenger trains coming from certain parts of the country affected by Covid-19 would have to under mandatory quarantine. 

Officials in the state warned that because of the number of tests increasing, there were delays in results, which could raise chances of transmission.

3,141 active cases

With 271 fresh cases being reported from West Bengal, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the state rose to 5,772, according to the state government bulletin. 

The government said that the number of active cases in the state stood at 3,141, after a total of 2,306 had recovered in the state. 

West Bengal reported eight more deaths. The state government put the total death toll from Covid-19 at 253. However, the Union government put the total death toll in the state at 325, counting the deaths of 72 patients who the state government said had died from co-morbidities. 

All the 72 patients had tested positive for the coronavirus. 

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No more social distancing? 

Multiple reports said on Tuesday that after the lockdown was eased in Bengal, social distancing norms were visibly ignored. 

Anandabazar Patrika reported that while buses were supposed to ply with only as many passengers as it had seats, during office hours there were many buses seen with passengers bundling in and standing in a bid to get to work on time. 

The government had said that passengers would not be allowed to stand inside buses. 

West Bengal’s bus fleet includes those run by the state government and by private bus owners. Reports said that on Monday there were very few private buses on streets, forcing people to crowd in the buses that were running. 

The newspaper reported that because of the lack of buses, people who had been waiting for over an hour to get to work, hopped on to buses even if they were crowded. 

Daily commuters faced a terrible time as metro rail services were not available either. 

PTI reported that people were out in large numbers on the streets and long queues were seen at many bus and autorickshaw stands. Autorickshaws are allowed to take in only two passengers at a time, instead of the usual four. 

Some religious places keep doors shut

Various prominent temples of the city such as the Firangi Kalibari, Thantania Kalibari reopened after a gap of two months, but several other famous temples of the state like Kalighat, Dakshineswar and Tarapith remained shut, reported PTI

The authorities of the closed temples said they would throw open their doors only after ensuring certain safety precautions.

“Unlike in the past, devotees cannot enter the temple anymore only after washing their hands carrying puja materials. Sanitisation of their whole body is needed and we have to devise a mechanism before we allow them in,” Kalighat temple committee spokesperson Kalyan Karmakar told PTI.

Belur Math, the global headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, also did not open its doors, the report said.

Chairman of Bengal Imam Association Md Yahia said there was no information about any mosque being thrown open for a limited number of people from Monday, adding that they have sought clarifications regarding the government order on allowing only 10 persons at a time.

Father Dominic Gomes of Archdiocese, Kolkata said the premises of all churches under the order in the city are open with all safety guidelines in place.

Test results get delayed

Covid-19 tests labs have been running more and more tests resulting in the delay of test results, which in turn could increase the risk of transmission, say reports. 

The Telegraph reported that most labs in the stat were running on “optimum capacity” but the rising number of cases meant that there was a huge back-log of samples in the labs. 

The report quoted an unnamed government health department source as saying, “The backlog is quite high and every day, fresh samples are coming in to both the labs. In Malda alone, there was a backlog of over 4,500 samples on Wednesday.” 

West Bengal, according to the government bulletin, has 41 laboratories carrying out coronavirus tests. 

An official told PTI, ” After the results come, they are matched with the lists of people on whom the tests were conducted and then submitted to the state health department. As a large number of tests are conducted, many cases could not be matched and uploaded by the data entry operators. And this has led to delay in getting the results of the tests, thereby raising the chances of transmission of the virus.”

West Bengal has so far conducted a total of 2,13,231 tests. 

Rules for passenger trains 

The West Bengal government on Monday said that people arriving in passenger trains from  Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will have to go through mandatory quarantine.  

The government had earlier made the same rule for Shramik special trains because of high number of Covid cases in these five states. 

The Telegraph reported that this means two weeks of mandatory quarantine for those even without symptoms. 

The report said that Mumbai Mail (Mumbai-Howrah), Purva Express (Howrah New Delhi), Mahananda express (New Delhi-Alipurduar) and Ahmadabad-Howrah Express are a few trains that will arrive in the state in the next few days. 

(With PTI inputs)