NEWS
08/04/2020 1:52 PM IST

7 Hotspots Identified In West Bengal, Death Toll At 5

Political blame game continued in the state with the BJP accusing the Mamata Banerjee government of fudging numbers.

NurPhoto via Getty Images
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee distributes food and essential commodities to the homeless people during the nationwide lockdown in Kolkata, India on Friday, 27th March , 2020. 

Confusion continued in West Bengal over the number of those who have been infected by the novel coronavirus in the state with the Mamata Banerjee government putting the number at 69, while Union health ministry data said it was 71 people. 

The death toll in the state was at 5. 

The government said that it had also identified seven hotspots in the state. 

The total number of active cases in the country was at 4643. 

Political blame game

Opposition parties in West Bengal, including the BJP, have accused the state government of “hiding” numbers amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country. While there was a discrepancy in the death toll earlier this week, now there is a difference between the number of cases. 

Anandabazar.com quoted Banerjee as saying on Tuesday, “Yesterday I had said that there were 61 cases. Now eight more people have tested positive taking this number to 69. Of these cases 60 people belong to 9 families. Of the eight new cases, four are through family.” 

West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh claimed on Tuesday that the state government was not conducting tests “at all” ti hide numbers. 

Ghosh also claimed the lockdown was also not being implemented. “Due to the indecisiveness of the state government the possibility of this dreaded pandemic to spread quickly has expanded. In order to show lesser number of infected persons on record, tests are not being conducted at all,” Ghosh said in a tweet. 

Hotspots identified 

Banerjee had also said that Bengal has identified seven hotspots across the state and had plans to restrict the virus in those areas. 

“We have to restrict this within that small place and draw a Lakshman Rekha around it so that it does not spread to other places,” she said. 

However she did not give names of the vulnerable areas. According to Anandabazar.com, Banerjee said there was presence of COVID-19 positive patients in Egra, Howrah, Kolkata’s Command Hospital, Kalimpong, Tehatta, Kolkata and Haldia. 

Abhijeet Banerjee’s advice 

Economist Abhijit Banerjee who is part of a  global advisory board to counsel chief minister Mamata Banerjee, has said that a grassroots reporting structure needs to be set up in the state so that more tests could be conducted. 

The Telegraph reported that Banerjee “stressed the need for a reporting structure from the grassroots” to contain the pandemic.

He was quoted by the newspaper as saying, “The markets… when they are open, please make sure everyone wears a mask and ensure hand sanitisation or washing facilities at the entry and exit points.”

(With PTI inputs)