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Bengal holiday to pat Covid-19 fighters

State to set up Covid Warriors Club with people who fought and recovered from the infection
The birth anniversary of former chief minister Bidhan Chandra Roy to be declared as a state holiday

Pranesh Sarkar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 30.06.20, 05:21 AM

The Bengal government has declared July 1, the birth anniversary of former chief minister Bidhan Chandra Roy, as a state holiday to acknowledge the hard work of doctors and others at the forefront of fight against Covid-19.

“We announce the birth anniversary of Bidhan Chandra Roy, which is observed as doctors’ day in Bengal, as a holiday to pay respect to the battle of doctors and all other frontline workers during the pandemic. We would request the Centre to declare the day as doctors’ day as well as a national holiday,” chief minister Mamata Banerjee said at Nabanna on Monday.

She also said the government had decided to deploy patients who recovered from Covid-19 to boost the morale of those being treated for the infection at various hospitals in the state. “We have decided to set up a Covid Warriors Club with people who fought and recovered from the infection. The warriors will be used to help positive patients at hospitals,” Mamata said.

She explained how the cured patients would be used at the hospitals. “They will talk to the patients. They can serve food to the patients.”

Mamata also informed that the government would give an honorarium to them and arrange for their lodging.

“We are starting with 60 such people from Behrampore. Of them, 10 will be posted in Behrampore medical college, 10 at Malda Medical College and the remaining 40 would be brought to Calcutta,” said the chief minister.

Sources said the primary plan was to involve the cured patients as counsellors of the patients undergoing treatment.

“It has been noticed that many of the patients suffer from psychological disorders. This often comes in the way of their recovery. If the Covid survivors talk to them and tell their stories, it would definitely boost the morale of the patients,” said a senior official.

He said although the programme had started with the Covid-19 survivors in Behrampore, the state government was willing to invite more cured patients if they wished to join the initiative.

So far, more than 12,000 people have recovered after being infected with Covid-19 and there are 5,534 active patients in the state. “We require a number of survivors to make the project successful. We have that many of the survivors would like to join the programme,” said a bureaucrat.

A section of the officials said the programme would also help the survivors get over a social stigma. “Many of the survivors are being treated as untouchables in their locality. If they come forward to help other patients, they would be treated as extraordinary people,” said another official.

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