Monday, 30th October 2017

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Bengal total cases 61: CM

Mamata listed seven areas where the majority of the cases had been found

By Pranesh Sarkar in Calcutta
  • Published 7.04.20, 5:07 AM
  • Updated 7.04.20, 5:07 AM
  • 3 mins read
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, slated to head Bengal’s advisory committee. Telegraph picture

Mamata Banerjee said the total number of active Covid-19 cases in Bengal till 12 noon on Monday was 61 — a jump of 12 since Saturday afternoon when chief secretary Rajiva Sinha had put the figure at 49.

“Till 12 noon, the number of active Covid-19 cases is 61, which includes the figure of yesterday,” the chief minister told a news conference at Nabanna.

Swatting away Opposition charges that doubted the veracity of the figures, the chief minister said either she or someone else on behalf of the government would hold a news conference first and then an official bulletin would be released by the health department every day.

“The chief secretary had briefed the media on Saturday and there was no briefing on Sunday. There is no reason to raise a hue and cry,” the chief minister said as she tried to set the protocol on sharing of numbers.

Mamata also announced the state government’s decision to set up a Global Advisory Committee, which would be headed by Nobel laureate economist Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, to help Bengal emerge from the post-virus economic crisis.

Sources close to the chief minister said Bengal was the first state in the country to take such an initiative.

“She has spoken to Banerjee and requested him to help the state formulate strategies to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the economy,” said the source.

The focus of Monday’s briefing was sharing numbers with the media. While mentioning that the number of coronavirus-related deaths remained at three in Bengal, the chief minister said that 55 of the active cases belonged to seven families.

“Please remember that 55 of these 61 cases I mentioned belong to seven families.… And 99 per cent of the cases found positive have international connections,” said the chief minister.

The chief minister listed seven areas where the majority of the cases had been found.

According to figures rolled out by the chief minister, 11 cases were found in a single family in Kalimpong. A lady belonging to the family, who has already died, had a history of travelling to Chennai.

“Besides, five family members of a doctor, who has tested positive, of Command Hospital in Alipore also tested positive. Five more from a family in Tehatta in Nadia, which has a UK connection, were also found to be positive,” she added.

Twelve members of a family in Egra, East Midnapore, who had attended a wedding reception where guests from foreign countries were present, had tested positive too, she said.

These apart, 8 persons from Howrah, 12 from Calcutta and two from Haldia had tested positive.

“If I tell you the districts, you will get to know that it is only seven areas (where people had tested positive). If people get to know, they will be more cautious. I am not saying that it will not happen in other areas. But we have to see that it does not happen,” the chief minister said.

The chief minister said the rising number of positive cases was a natural phenomenon at this time.

“You know the figure (number of positive cases) goes up with each passing day, it does not come down until people are discharged following complete recovery,” she said.

Mamata said doctors in the state were working really well and patients were responding to the treatment.

She said that so far, 13 people in the state had been discharged after complete recovery and four more from the Kalimpong family had tested negative in their second test and could be discharged if their third test also came out negative.

“The Beliaghata ID Hospital has already discharged 13 persons. There are 17 more patients and the condition of 12 patients is really good. Only one person is a bit serious. This is a good sign,” said the chief minister.

The chief minister said the state government was trying hard to arrange for personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers dealing with Covid-19 positive or suspected cases as the Centre had not sent enough kits.

“We got only 3,000 PPE (kits) from the Centre yesterday even though the country registered its first case two months back. We are trying to arrange for the required gear within our limited resources,” she said.

“We had ordered 11 lakh PPEs, but received 207,100 so far. Similarly, we had ordered 7.92 lakh N95 masks and got 78,750 so far. This apart, we got 378,550 two-layer masks out of the 4.2 lakh we had ordered. We have also received 3.55 lakh three-layer masks out of the 8.36 lakh ordered.”

The chief minister added that the agencies that secured the orders need time to supply the kits as it was a crisis situation.

Mamata said that so far, 1,301 Covid-19 tests had been conducted in the state, while explaining that lack of kits and the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research had prevented the state from carrying out more tests in the state.

As of now, there are 2,877 people at 511 government quarantine centres while 4,010 people have been released from these facilities, she said.