Even as the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal asked the Centre for a Rs 1,500 crore package to cope with the coronavirus outbreak un the state, a 66-year-old man in the Nayabad area of Kolkata tested positive for the coronavirus.
There have been 10 patients in the state who had tested positive for the virus, and one of them died earlier this week
Anandbazar.com reported that the man had been admitted in a private hospital since 23 March, and right now he is in the ICU. His swab test report from the the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Beliaghata, showed he tested positive for COVID-19.
The report said that while he has no travel history, doctors suspect that he got infected when he attended a wedding in Medinipur.
Mamata wants citizens to stop ostracising health workers
Doctors, health workers and those in the service industry — who are still stepping out for work — have faced bias across the nation, with harassment from neigbours and landlords.
Banerjee said on Wednesday that such people should not be ostracised and their safety should be ensured. The Telegraph quoted her as saying, “They are fighting to prevent the spread of the virus and it is our responsibility to ensure proper security for them.”
She also warned of stern action against those who harassed health workers and doctors.
‘Don’t stop home deliveries’
Banerjee also instructed the police to ensure that essential supplies were not affected because of the lockdown.
PTI reported her as saying those engaged by online platforms for delivery of food items, vegetable vendors and those in other essential services should not be stopped by police during the lockdown. If required, passes should be issued to people employed for home delivery services, she said.
Banerjee warned of action if policemen were found stopping people working in essential services, while praising the forces for its overall role in enforcing the lockdown.
“Some policemen at the lower level, civic volunteers, should also be sensitised by their superiors that those involved in essential services, like vegetable vendors, online food delivery boys, farmers should not be stopped,” she said.
Testing in north Bengal
An report in Anandabazar.com said that testing for the coronavirus had begun in the Medical College, North Bengal in Siliguri.
The report said that swabs of those who are admitted here would be tested in the Medical Research and Diagnostic Laboratory and 200 test kits had arrived at the hospital for the tests.
Daily-wage Workers Affected The Worst
While Bengal has exempted tea estate workers from the lockdown, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Anit Thapa asked for a lockdown of the tea estates.
The Telegraph reported that the state had exempted tea estate workers from the lockdown because tea production required continuous work.
The report quoted Thapa as saying, “The lives of tea garden workers are more important than the business. The owners must take the responsibility of the tea garden workers and the GTA will also try to pitch their resources...it’s easy to call for a strike and close down but it hard when you have to take the responsibility of the peopled during the period, (sic). ”
Meanwhile, PTI reported the flight of labourers to their homes due to the lockdown is taking a toll on loading and unloading of agricultural produce at the storage facilities in West Bengal, and has raised concerns over a possible crisis in the supply chain in the near future.
Major railway stations, bus terminals, and airports were deserted. Only a few police vehicles and those associated with emergency services were seen on the roads.
Also many were stuck across the country without money to return home.
Anandabazar.com reported that over 2,000 workers from Bengal’s North Dinajpur were stuck across the country and had no money to return home.