Kolkata: West Bengal reported its first coronavirus death after a 57-year-old patient succumbed to the infection at a private hospital in Salt Lake. The victim, a resident of Dumdum in North 24 Parganas district, had no history of travelling abroad. The man was admitted to a private hospital with fever and dry cough and his symptoms intensified from March 19; a few days later he became the fourth person in the state to have tested positive for coronavirus. The second swab test also turned a positive result for the virus. He was admitted to the ICU and breathed his last after multi-organ failure. His family members, who came in contact with him over the past week, are also in isolation in the same hospital. "There are certain guidelines to handover bodies in such cases. It will be done soon," a senior hospital authority said.
At an all-party meeting, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee instructed the officials to direct private hospital authorities to take all the necessary steps immediately to prevent the spread of the virus from the dead body. As per protocol, the deceased's body will be kept in a special bag and only trained persons will be allowed to carry it to the electric cremation unit in a special vehicle. Only selected family members will be allowed during the cremation, with no one permitted to touch the body. However, the 'asthi' can be collected as a part of last rites.
On March 21, a 22-year-old woman from Habra in North 24-Parganas district, with a recent travel history to Scotland, tested positive for COVID-19. So far there are seven positive virus cases in Bengal. All of them were kept in isolation at the Infectious Diseases and Beliaghata General Hospital in Kolkata.
Lock down till March 27
Sensing the seriousness of the pandemic and upon advised by the Centre, the Bengal government on Sunday have decided to go for a complete lock down from 5 pm from March 23 to March 27 midnight across the state. As per the order, no public transport services, including operation of taxis, auto-rickshaws will be permitted. The exception will include transport of all kinds to and from hospitals, airports, railway station, bus stands/terminals and goods carrying food and essential commodities.
“All shops, commercial establishments, offices and factories, workshops, godowns etc shall close their operations. All foreign returns and other such persons were requested to remain under strict home quarantine for a period as decided by the local health authorities,” the notification reads.
People were asked to stay at home and come out only for emergency services while strictly following social distancing guidelines issued earlier. However, courts, correctional, health, police, armed forces, paramilitary forces, electricity, civil defence, medicine shops, petrol pumps, LPG gas, medicine shops, optical stores, pharmaceutical manufacturing, telecom, internet, ITES postal, bank, ATM water and conservancy services will be operational during this period. Private sectors which are involved in emergency services are also excluded from the restriction till March 27, 2020.