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BSF driver with central team in Kolkata tests positive for COVID-19

Two IMCTs had been sent by the Centre to West Bengal to monitor health systems and Covid-19 containment measures of the state. They were supposed to point out shortcomings in the COVID-19 care systems and lockdown implementation and send a report to the Centre.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi |
Updated: May 4, 2020 5:44:27 pm
Sources said the infected driver was accompanying the IMCT sent to take stock of the situation in Kolkata. (Express photo)

A BSF driver accompanying Centre’s Inter-Ministerial Central Team (ICMT) to West Bengal has tested positive for COVID-19. Following the development, 50 personnel from BSF’s Kolkata headquarters have been quarantined as the driver belonged to the force.

Two IMCTs had been sent by the Centre to West Bengal to monitor Covid-19 containment measures and lockdown implementation in the state and and send a report to the Centre.

Since the IMCTs initially did not get adequate cooperation from the state, they stayed at BSF guesthouse and used BSF vehicles . Sources said the infected driver was accompanying the IMCT as they moved around to take stock of the situation in Kolkata. This IMCT is headed by Apurva Chandra, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence.

The two IMCTs sent to West Bengal have given an unflattering report of the situation in the state and even said that the mortality rate among Covid-19 patients (12.8 per cent) is the highest in the state. The IMCT is now back in Delhi.

In contrast, the home ministry has claimed that the IMCTs sent to Gujarat have praised the efforts of the state government in fighting COVID-19. Ahmedabad and Surat are among the most severely affected cities in the state.  It is not yet clear whether the MHA has asked the West Bengal IMCT members to go for testing or quarantine.

A BSF officer from Bengal said, “Although this driver was not in direct contact with the IMCT members and all drivers had been directed to stay put in their vehicles when the IMCT was out doing its work, we are tracing all contacts and taking necessary precautions.”

Meanwhile, the BSF Headquarters in Delhi have been sealed after a constable working in the office of an Additional DG-rank officer tested positive late Sunday night. The headquarters are being sanitised currently. Sources said the ADG is likely to be asked to go for testing.

This comes in the backdrop of 56 BSF personnel having tested positive so far. As many as 32 of these are suspected to have got the infection while discharging law and order duties with Delhi Police in Jama Masjid and Chandni Mahal areas.

Meanwhile, 15 personnel of the Sashatra Seema Bal, which guards the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan border, have also tested positive in Delhi. They all belong to one battalion stationed at Ghitorni.

“A head constable of BSF working in BSF Force Headquarters Block 10 CGO complex, has been found COVID-19 positive late night on 3rd May 2020. He last attended office on Friday 1st May 2020. He was working in an office on the second floor of BSF Force Headquarters. All persons who came in his contact have been identified and quarantined. They will also be tested for COVID 19. Offices on first and second floors of FHQ have been closed as a precaution, ” a statement from the BSF said about latest developments.

It was only on Friday that BSF the had got its entire headquarter disinfected.  “The disinfection of complete Block 10 CGO complex BSF force headquarters will be done again in the afternoon today light of latest COVID-19 positive case. Identification of secondary and tertiary contacts as per protocol is being carried out. All protocols are being followed, ” BSF spokesperson Shubhendu Bharadwaj said.

The developments come days after 135 CRPF personnel having tested positive at its Mayur Vihar camp.

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