Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee Announces Nodal COVID-19 Hospitals in All 22 Districts

Kolkata: Ramping up significant steps to fight the coronavirus crisis in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced setting up of dedicated nodal hospitals for COVID-19 cases in each of the 22 districts.

The decision is being seen as a step forward in breaking the human chain from the national level to district level in the state for smooth functioning of essential supply chain by restricting the community to their respective districts regarding COVID-19 healthcare assistance.

The Trinamool chief also announced an increased insurance payout to all the government doctors, nurses, health workers, pharmacists, cleaning staffs, ASHA workers and anyone who has been aiding the government to curtail the pandemic from Rs 5 lakh to 10 lakh. The payout also includes sanitation workers and police personnel.

“The rise in insurance amount will be applicable for both private and government workers. I would also like to instruct all the district magistrate that no one should sleep hungry in our state. We have to take care of migrant workers from other states as well,” Banerjee said.

Banerjee also issued a stern warning stating that anyone found ostracising healthcare workers who have been attending to COVID-19 patients would be arrested.

"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," she said.

In a big relief to the sweet makers and milk vendors in the state, the Chief Minister announced that all sweet shops in Bengal would remain open from noon to 4 pm everyday.

She also directed top police officers, who were part of the meeting, to arrange for blood donation camps across the state.

Banerjee was the first Chief Minister who had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting to halt all flights coming to Kolkata as part of measures against the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta said that Bengal lost out on the Centre’s insurance scheme because of political reasons.

“W Bengal govt has increased insurance payout to Doctors & health workers from ₹5 lakh to ₹ 10 lakh. In other states they are covered up to ₹50 lakh by Centre. For political reasons @MamataOfficial has refused to join Aushman Bharat scheme. Bengal has lost out,” Dasgupta tweeted.