Bengal favours quarantine of hotspots

Bengal favours quarantine of hotspots
Kolkata: Unlike some states, the Bengal government is not in favour of extending the lockdown beyond April 15 across the state and has instead identified seven hotspots that may be put under quarantine in the post-lockdown days to contain the novel coronavirus from spreading. 

The area around Command Hospital in Alipore and 11 other localities in Kolkata, parts of Howrah, Nadia’s Tehatta, Egra in East Midnapore, Kalimpong in Darjeeling and Magrahat in South 24 Parganas are among the hotspots the government is keeping a close watch on. It will take a call on keeping these areas under extended lockdown after April 10.
Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee, who now heads the government’s Covid-19 response team, also offered some simple but effective tips on tackling the virus during a video-conference with chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday.
“Hand sanitisers or simple soap and water should be made available to people going to markets/supermarkets. Everyone should wash hands before entering the market and do so while leaving the market. Countries like Korea and Taiwan have made use of this to contain the virus. People should keep distance in markets. Sellers may put a tape or something as a Lakshmanrekha for consumers,” the Nobel Laureate said from his Massachusetts home.
The MIT professor also urged the government to put in place a proper reporting structure that can help health workers locate areas with high incidence of fever before the virus starts spreading. “Asha workers in the villages may come across a locality where many people are suffering from cough. If they report it, health workers may reach that locality and conduct tests among the group. They may be shifted to quarantine centres immediately. Don’t worry if you don’t find anything there,” Banerjee said.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee readily accepted the proposals and informed Banerjee that the government has already trained Asha workers to use a mobile app devised to report cases. She also said the government would instruct market committees to arrange for hand sanitizers, soap and water for people coming to markets, supermarkets and kishan mandis.
The CM also gave a waiver to movement of agro-products to enable farmers market their produce. “Flower farmers from Howrah, Hooghly, and the Sunderbans are unable to bring their produce to the city. Make arrangements for marketing of flowers from Wednesday. We have already asked the sweet shops to keep open from 12 noon to 4 pm so that milk traders don’t have to waste milk. I have also got reports that vehicles carrying agro-produce are being stopped at several points. This should not happen,” the CM said. The state government has also allowed rolling of bidis at home. “Agents from the bidi factories should individually collect the home-made bidis or those rolled by individual shopkeepers,” the CM said.
Officials said the state government has used information in the public domain and feedback from the grassroots to map the Covid-19 clusters. “We have our containment plan ready. We will be waiting till April 10 and take stock of ground reality. We will enforce the cluster plan if there is no abnormal spike in cases,” a senior state official said.
Giving a hint of the containment plan, a health department official said, “The CM has already pointed out that the corona-positive cases come mostly from nine families. Our purpose is to contain the virus and prevent a community transmission. We have thus decided to geographically quarantine the hotspots. The plan is to seal these areas, sanitise the buffer zones adjoining them. Not allow anyone to step out. The government will arrange for food and medicine for the affected families. We will increase random tests in these areas and also in those from where higher incidence of fever is reported.”
The administration, however, is aware of the difficulties in enforcing geographical quarantines. “It requires, among other things, sealing of areas through strict policing because many of the hotspots like Tehatta in Nadia or Kalimpong share borders with neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Bhutan. That is why the districts of north Bengal are highly sensitive. Siliguri is the chicken’s neck. It shares borders with Bangladesh and Nepal and is a gateway to the northeastern states. All the others — Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda — share borders with Bangladesh and states like Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand. We need a better management plan for north Bengal,” the official said. 
 
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com
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Kolkata: Unlike some states, the Bengal government is not in favour of extending the lockdown beyond April 15 across the state and has instead identified seven hotspots that may be put under quarantine in the post-lockdown days to contain the novel coronavirus from spreading.

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