West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that it was “factually incorrect”’ to state that the first case of novel coronavirus infection in West Bengal was detected in Kolkata. She said that the person who tested positive for the infection in Kolkata came to the city from the UK, already infected.
“Everyone wrote that a novel coronavirus case was detected in Kolkata. It is not a case from Kolkata. It is factually incorrect to say that it is the first such case in Kolkata. The fact is that the person came from the UK with novel coronavirus infection to Kolkata,” said Banerjee.
Her comments come a day after a youth who returned from the UK to Kolkata on March 15 tested positive for the novel coronavirus infection.
Banerjee clarified that she will not support anyone who, despite coming from abroad, evades tests just because someone in their family is an influential person. “I will not support anyone if after returning from abroad, they just go out to a shopping mall where 500 more people may get infected coming into contact with them,” said Banerjee. “If someone doesn’t go through tests just because someone in their family is a very influential person – I don’t support such things.”
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According to sources in the state administration, the youth who tested positive for the novel coronavirus infection is the son of a senior state government bureaucrat. They also said that a few officials along with another senior state government bureaucrat who came into contact with the concerned bureaucrat were asked to stay at home.
“We don’t support if somebody tries to hide his/her symptoms and doesn’t take precautionary measures. If people show any symptom of COVID-19, they should immediately go for tests and medical examination,” the chief minister said.
Describing Tuesday’s incident as an “eye-opener”, the Chief Minister expressed doubts about the quality of screening at the international airport.
“What happened yesterday was an eye-opener for us. I don’t know what kind of checking was done at the international airport, but it (the novel coronavirus infection) was not detected,” said Banerjee.
The Chief Minister said she had come to know that even after returning from abroad, and contrary to doctors’ advice, the affected person kept roaming around.
“I want to appeal to everyone coming from abroad through you (media) that there is no scope for distinguishing between VIP and LIP here. The rule which will apply to my family same will also apply to you. Everyone coming from abroad please go through tests. You should voluntarily keep yourself isolated from 15 to 27 days,” said Banerjee.