Maintaining social distancing, women queue up to withdraw Rs 500 that Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised would be given to every Jan Dhan woman account holder to help families tide over the effects of the lockdown, at Bongaon in North 24 Parganas Wednesday. (Express photo by Partha Paul)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the state government had formed three task forces on Wednesday to deal with the situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic. She also said that two more persons have tested positive for coronavirus in the state.
Addressing mediapersons at the state secretariat, Nabanna, the Chief Minister said that one task force will focus on relaxation and restriction of the lockdown and will be headed by Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha.
The second, according to the Chief Minister, will look after economic reforms and restructuring with Finance Secretary Hari Krishna Dwivedi at the helm.
The third task force has been formed for the enforcement of rules and regulations as well as law and order and will be headed by Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, she added.
With two more patients testing positive for coronavirus, the total number of active patients increased to 71.
The Chief Minister said, “Three more patients recovered at Beleghata ID Hospital. They were discharged from hospital today.” She further said, out of the 71 active cases, 61 belong to 11 families.
The CM said, “Among those sent to quarantine at NRS Medical College and Hospital, 30 doctors, five nurses and four technicians tested negative for coronavirus. We are very happy.”
Her statement comes in the wake of at least 79 staff members being sent to quarantine at NRS hospital, after the death of a patient who had tested positive for coronavirus.
Questioning how the members of Tablighi Jamaat gathered at Nizamuddin in Delhi, Banerjee said, “Many people assembled there before the lockdown was imposed. How they could gather there? How could those coming from foreign countries get their VISAs?”
Alleging that some people were trying to stoke communal flames, the CM said, “When fire broke out, it never saw which house belonged to a Hindu or a Muslim. It’s the same in case of an epidemic or pandemic.”
Banerjee said, “When we were informed about the Tablighi Jamaat, within six hours we quietly identified those who attended the gathering and sent them to quarantine. As many as 108 foreigners and 69 people from our state have been quarantined. Maximum number of people has been kept at Haj House with their due permission and others have been kept at the Rajarhat quarantine facility.”
She added, “Earlier I did not comment on Tablighi Jamaat issue as some news should be kept secret.”
On Wednesday morning, the excise department passed an order to allow home delivery of liquor till the lockdown is lifted. However, during a video conferencing, the Chief Minister asked the officials not to implement this order, following which the order was withdrawn.
Meanwhile, Banerjee declined to say anything on the video conferencing between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and floor leaders of the Parliament.
Amid speculation that the PM has said that the lockdown period may be extended, the CM said, “We haven’t got any official intimation. Until and unless we get any official directive, we will not say anything on this. We will just do our job. I will not disclose my stand. We are just watching.”
Also, on availability of hydroxychloroquine, the chief minister on Wednesday said, “I will not mention any number, but I can assure that we have sufficient amount of hydroxychloroquine with us.”
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?