Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday warned of deploying armed police personnel in high-risk clusters of Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly and North 24 Parganas districts if people defied lockdown norms even as the state recorded 22 new coronavirus positive cases in the last 24 hours.
The total active cases (minus recoveries and deaths) in the state has risen to 162.
Addressing a meeting of all district magistrates and superintendents of police (SPs), Banjerjee told them: “In the red zones, lockdown should be properly monitored and maintained. No one should be allowed to exit from and enter these areas. If necessary, police can deliver food at doorsteps. We have to do this. We have no other alternative. If anyone tries to break the lockdown, police should take strict action against them. If you don’t follow the rule, we will have to deploy armed forces in those areas.”
This comes after the Opposition and the Union Home Ministry’s allegations that the state has overlooked some lockdown violations.
She asked officials to bring Howrah and North 24 Parganas under the orange category within two weeks. East Midnapore had been brought under the orange zone from red one due to strict enforcement of lockdown, she said. A red zone can be turned to orange zone when no case is reported in two weeks.
In the meeting, the chief minister said 90 per cent of the total positive cases were from Kolkata and Howrah. Four more patients were recovered on Friday, taking the total number of recoveries to 55. So far, 10 people have died of COVID-19.
The state has not released the district wise break-up of the positive cases in the state.
Banerjee said at least 10 districts were coronavirus-free.
She repeatedly directed all DMs and SPs to keep strict vigil on state and international borders. “No one should enter the state through the international border. If migrant workers return from other states, they should be screened and quarantined,” she directed.
The chief minister advised journalists to avoid visiting red zones for their safety.
“All people should wear mask and shun gatherings in the market. Social distancing in the market should be maintained.”
She asked the Hooghly district administration to keep an eye on areas such as Pandua, Rishra and Dankuni. The district administration, in the meeting, said the district had recorded five positive cases. She also asked Murshidabad district administration to be on its toes as a lot of migrant labourers entered the city last month after the lockdown was announced on March 24.