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Coronavirus: Second death in Bengal, CM Mamata Banerjee steps up preparations

The woman, who was the first COVID-19 patient in North Bengal, had travelled back from Thailand recently. She had been admitted to the North Bengal Medical College with severe acute respiratory illness.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: March 31, 2020 5:41:58 am
kolkata coronavirus death, kolkata covid 19 death, covid 19 coronavirus pandemic, kolkata death, indian express West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (Express Photo)

A 44-year-old woman from Kalimpong died of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Monday, two days after testing positive. This is the second COVID-19 death in the state.

Meanwhile, a 77-year-old businessman from Kolkata’s Sovabazar area was found to have the infection, taking the number of positive cases in the state to 22. He has severe acute respiratory illness, and has been admitted to a private hospital here.

The woman, who was the first COVID-19 patient in North Bengal, had travelled back from Thailand recently. She had been admitted to the North Bengal Medical College with severe acute respiratory illness.

Health officials have collected samples from 519 people suspected of carrying the infection, and the results of 465 people were negative. The results of 32 people are awaited.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a review meeting over video conference with District Magistrates and Chief Medical Officers of each and every district, in presence of state government officials at Nabanno. She asked the officials to step up preparations to fight coronavirus. She also directed the district authorities to take over private hospitals and nursing homes, private educational institutes, hotels, dharamshalas and stadiums to turn them into isolation wards or quarantine facilities.

“Before identifying hospitals or isolation centres for coronavirus positive patients, ensure that those buildings should have completely separate entrances and exits and the area should not be very congested,” she said.

The order followed the Health department’s initiative to start the procedure of setting up at least one dedicated nodal hospitals for COVID-19 patients in every district.

She also told the district officials that no one should die of hunger in the state and asked them to provide foodgrains to 20 lakh “poorest of the poor people”. “DMs should arrange foodgrains for those who don’t have ration cards… Those who used to get 2 kilo rice at Rs 2 per kilo every week, give them 5 kg extra.”

She also said an insurance cover of Rs 10 lakh will be extended to those who have been aiding the government in the fight against COVID-19, including healthcare professionals, sanitation workers and police personnel. Earlier, the government had sanctioned an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh for people working in the healthcare sector.

Issuing a stern warning, she said, “Anyone found ostracising healthcare workers or even attempting to do so will be immediately arrested. The law will take its own course. The healthcare workers are risking everything to save people.”

The CM announced that all sweet shops in Bengal would remain open for four hours from 12 noon to 4 pm every day. She also directed top police officers, who were part of the meeting, to arrange blood donation camps. Police arrested 132 people for flouting lockdown norms.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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