NEWS
03/06/2020 12:24 PM IST

West Bengal Sees Highest Single Day Spike Of Covid-19 Cases, BJP Workers Flout Social Distancing Norms

West Bengal saw 396 new coronavirus cases in a single day as the government planned new rules for containment zones.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Passengers queue up to enter Howrah station on June 1, 2020 in Kolkata, India.

West Bengal on Tuesday saw the biggest single-day spike with 396 people testing positive for Covid-19 in the state in 24 hours. Ten more people died of the novel coronavirus, the state government’s daily bulletin said. 

The Mamata Banerjee government mulled on new rules for containment zones to allay fears of people in those zones. 

Workers of the BJP, that has constantly accused the ruling government of being unable to contain the situation in the state, openly flouted social distancing norms as they crowded in their party headquarters in Kolkata to congratulate new office bearers of the state. 

For the second day in a row, since an ease in lockdown came into effect, commuters struggled to find transport. 

The government also announced new dates for the higher secondary examination. 

3,423 active cases 

Covid-19 cases in West Bengal continued to rise in leaps and bounds with 396 new cases recorded on Tuesday. The total number of cases report from the state crossed stood at 6,168. 

The number of active cases in the state was at 3,423. 

The death toll in the state rose to 263 after 10 more people died of the disease. This is without counting the deaths of 72 Covid-19 positive patients with co-morbidities. 

The Union health ministry put the death toll, counting those 72 deaths, at 335. 

The bulletin said 104 more people had been discharged from hospitals across the state, taking the total number of people who have recovered to 2,410. 

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Containment zones to shrink even as cases don’t 

According to reports, the perimeter of containment zones will now be reduced, allegedly to ensure people in the state are not scared or inconvenienced. 

Anandabazar Patrika reported sources in West Bengal’s health department as saying that an SOP as been prepared in this regard. 

Sources told the Bengali daily that according to these new rules entire neighbourhoods will not be locked down if one or two people from the area have tested positive. 

If residents in flats or apartment complexes test positive, only that building will be made a containment area. If there are multiple cases in a complex, then the entire complex will be made into a containment zone. For standalone homes, five to six houses next to the house of the infected person will be made into containment zones, the report said. 

BJP workers flout rules, blames Mamata

On Tuesday, more than 50 BJP workers crowded in a room inside their headquarters in Kolkata to congratulate new office bearers of the party. 

The Telegraph reported that Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh was one of the people present in the 150-sqft room.  

The report also came with a photo of the situation, where it is clearly seen that BJP leaders were flouting social distancing norms. 

When The Telegraph asked Singh if he was ok with the situation, he said, “Social distancing is not being maintained in the state. The chief minister herself is flouting the norms.”

Read the entire report here

Commuters’ struggle continues 

Multiple reports suggested that commuters across the state struggled to find transport to reach their destinations as offices and shops opened up. 

Anandabzar Patrika reported that in Kolkata people were seen waiting in bus stops because of the less number of buses and seats being filled up in the first stop. 

The situation continued to be bad because most private buses stayed off roads, so did mini buses. 

While the All Bengal Bus Minibus Samannoy Samity has resumed services on some routes on an experimental basis, the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates said it will not be possible to run buses on current fares as they will incur a huge loss even if they ply with passengers in every seat, reported PTI.

 Private bus operators held a meeting with state transport department officials on Tuesday for the formation of a regulatory committee for revising fares.

Joint Council of Bus Syndicates general secretary Tapan Banerjee told PTI that private buses carry 85% passengers in the state with more than 45,000 buses.

 At least 6,500 private buses and around 1,200 government-run buses operate in the city during normal times.

However, state transport minister Suvendu Adhikary claimed that things will improve. “Around 400 government buses plied in the city on Tuesday. It will be 800 in a couple of days and from June 8, the number of buses will further go up to over 1,000 in city routes,” PTI quoted him as saying. 

New dates for higher secondary exams announced 

Class 12 board exams of the state boards were rescheduled again on Tuesday, reported PTI.  Education Minister Partha Chatterjee announced that the remaining exams will be held on July 2, 6 and 8.

The decision was taken as the government has ordered schools to remain shut till June 30.

Chatterjee said the exams will start on July 2 instead of the earlier announced date of June 29.

“So instead of July 6, the last date of the higher secondary exams will now be July 8,” PTI quoted the minister as saying.

The subjects for which the exams were postponed are Physics, Nutrition, Education, Accountancy, Chemistry, Economics, Journalism, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, French, Statistics, Geography, Costing and Taxation, Home Management and Family Resource Management.

(With PTI inputs)