The first case of the novel Covid-19 in Kolkata was reported on Tuesday. The patient is an 18-year-old man, who had returned from the United Kingdom. The patient is also the son of a top bureaucrat in the West Bengal government. It has now emerged that the man reportedly flouted norms, refused to get admitted to two hospitals and continued meeting people in the days after his return from the UK.
The patient, an Oxford University student, returned from the UK and was advised by the airport authorities to get admitted to Beleghata ID Hospital on March 15. He defied and reached home. This after, sources said, he shared a room with three people in London who had tested positive for coronavirus.
Not only did he turn down the advice of the Kolkata airport authorities, but he also carried on with his social life and met people. He met his mother at Nabanna, the West Bengal Chief Minister’s office. On March 16, he visited the MR Bangur hospital, which is located in the heart of the city. There he met authorities but refused to get admitted.
Meanwhile, his mother, a bureaucrat with the state government and with whom the man stayed, went ahead and took part in several government meetings.
Finally, on March 17, he was compelled by the state health department to get admitted to the Beleghata ID Hospital, where he tested positive. His family and his driver have now been kept in quarantine.
The incident has drawn sharp criticism for the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress Government in the state. Mamata’s initial comment on the issue is also now being highlighted. In one of her attacks on the BJP, Mamata has trivialised the scare and accused the Centre of using coronavirus to deflect from real issues.
There are now reports that Bengali film stars and political figures like Mimi Chakraborty and Jeet did not restrict their travels abroad after coronavirus spread panic across the world. Today, Mimi Chakroborty returned from London, where there have been several cases of the novel Covid-19. She will be kept in quarantine at New Town, on the outskirts of the city, sources said.
The Mamata-led government is now being questioned on how the 18-year-old patient was allowed to escape quarantine even when his mother was at a responsible position in the government, and about the measures taken by the government following the incident.