09/04/2020 10:54 AM IST

West Bengal Coronavirus Updates: 2 New Cases, Says Mamata, Hints At Lockdown Extension

Mamata Banerjee also said that there was a bit to communalise the Tablighi Jamaat incident, and this was not the time for communal politics.

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Volunteers wearing a coronavirus-themed outfit composed of helmet to raise awareness about the coronavirus in Kolkata.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday that two new people tested positive in the state taking the number of active COVID-19 cases in the state to 71. 

So far 5 people have died in West Bengal. 

However, if Union health ministry data updated on Thursday morning showed that Bengal has had a total of 103 cases, and if 16 people have been discharged and 5 people have died then then the state has 82 active cases. 

However, according to news agency PTI, which has been keeping its own tally, the numbers match that of what the West Bengal government has said. 

The chief minister, meanwhile, also hinted at a lockdown extension. 

Number of cases

Banerjee said that of the 71 active cases in the state, 61 are from 11 families and it proves that they did not maintain social distancing norms, she said.

According to PTI, the chief minister said that 30 doctors, five nurses and four technicians of Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital, who were kept in a quarantine centre after coming in contact with a COVID-19 patient who died at the hospital, tested negative for the infection.

“It’s a sigh of relief that they tested negative. I was tensed that so many doctors were quarantined,” she said.

Hint At Lockdown Extension 

The chief minister requested the people of the state to adjust to the difficulties of an extended lockdown. 

The Telegraph quoted her as saying, “Remember… since the lockdown was announced, from that day, up to 49 days… till May 19…. If that time period, we can do it well despite a little difficulty, then…. I have to prioritise the fight against Covid-19, that is my first priority.” 

So far Modi had announced a 21-day lockdown and reports say he had hinted during an all-party video conference that it will likely be extended. 

According to the report in The Telegraph, Banerjee said that according to experts “good results” will happen if the lockdown in extended till 49 days. “Many have said so. I am not sure. I simply counted from March 24 and said May 19,” she was quoted as saying. 

‘Don’t communalise crisis’ 

Amid the spotlight on the Tablighi Jamaat, many of whom have returned to West Bengal, Banerjee said that there was an effort being made to communalise the issue. 

Banerjee said that the state government had put  around 200 Tablighi Jamaat members in quarantine, including 108 foreigners.

“We have been witnessing that some people are indulging in communal politics over the Nizamuddin event. This is completely unacceptable. A pandemic or a disease doesn’t attack you on the basis of your religion or caste. I urge everybody not to communalise the crisis,” Banerjee was quoted by PTI as saying.

Banerjee also reminded people to not forget that it had only been few weeks since a riot happened in Delhi. 

“Now, a lot of things are being said. This is not right. We should not forget that a riot happened in Delhi just days before the lockdown was announced. At that time there was also a disaster going on in Madhya Pradesh. This is not the time for communal politics,” she said.

She did not elaborate on the “disaster” in Madhya Pradesh, but likely hinted at the political crisis in the state that resulted in the Congress government falling.  resignation of chief minister Kamal Nath on March 20.

Banerjee said the 108 foreigners were from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Thailand.

“We have carried our responsibilities well. After we were given the information, our administration quietly took the 108 foreigners to a quarantine centre in Rajarhat within six hours. For the last 10 days, they are there under the monitoring of the state health department and the state administration,” she said.

“As many as 69 from West Bengal who had gone to the (Tablighi Jamaat) event in New Delhi are also with them. Over 200 people have been kept at the quarantine centre at Haj Tower Cum Empowerment Centre,” she added.

Three task forces

The state has also set up three task forces to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. reported that chief secretary Rajiva Sinha will lead the one that will look after the overall situation and keep things under control. 

Meanwhile, under the secretary of finance, a task force will look after economic issues and the one under the home secretary will look after implementation of rules. 

(With PTI inputs)