Three Covid-19 patients in Bengal without travel history trigger concerns
Reports of more patients being tested positive with COVID-19 in West Bengal have poured in since Monday night but the state government is yet to release any official figures after Monday afternoon. According to the last bulletin issued by the state on Monday, at least 22 cases have been detected and the total death toll was two.Updated: Mar 31, 2020 14:28 IST
At least three persons, who have been detected with corona in the last 48 hours, might not have travelled outside the state in the recent past, health officials said. It was not immediately clear if they came in touch with any infected person. Officials say they are trying to trace the source of the infections.
A 57-year-old man from Hooghly district in south Bengal with no ‘known’ history of travelling outside the state or meeting anyone from outside the state tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday.
In a separate case, a septuagenarian man from Burrabazar in Kolkata has also tested positive. Family members said he didn’t go anywhere.
In another incident, a 56-year-old resident of Baranagar in North 24 Parganas district tested positive, raising eyebrows of health officials. Initially, it was thought he got infected from his brother who returned from Madhya Pradesh with fever. But his brother has tested negative. The patient has no history of travelling outside the state.
“We could not trace any travel history of some of the patients who tested positive in the last 48 hours. We are still trying to trace them,” said Ajay Chakraborty, director of health services in West Bengal.
The man from Hooghly district works at a private firm in Durgapur in West Burdwan district. Before testing positive for Covid-19, he had travelled in train in the districts of Birbhum, Bankura, Kolkata and South 24-Parganas. He had attended an event at his firm in Durgapur on March 13, went to Bankura to attend another event of the company, and stayed the night at a hotel in Durgapur. He returned home on March 14. On March 26, he had fever and gradually developed breathing difficulties. He was admitted to a hospital on March 28 and tested positive for Covid-19 on March 29. Increasing worry for the administration, the domestic help at their home has also reported of fever and her swab samples have been sent for tests.
“It seems that probably we are entering stage three (community transmission). However officially we are still in stage two,” said Dr Sumon Poddar, associate professor, Institute of Child Health
The 77-year-old a cloth merchant having his shop at Burrabazar area in Kolkata, did not travel outside the state or meeting anyone from outside the state, his family members reportedly told the authorities of the private hospital where he is admitted.
Reports of more patients being tested positive with COVID-19 have poured in since Monday night but the state government is yet to release any official figures after Monday afternoon. According to the last bulletin issued by the state on Monday, at least 22 cases have been detected and the total death toll was two.
“A few more cases have been tested positive since Monday evening. The numbers have gone beyond 22. There is also a report of one person dying. This could take the total death toll to three. We are yet to confirm as the man died before his swab samples could be tested,” said Chakrabarti.
There are four main stages of disease outbreak. Stage I is usually when cases are imported and are not of local origin. Stage II is when there is local transmission, which means a section of people testing positive have come in contact with a positive patient having a travel history. Stage III is community transmission, a phase of the outbreak when the source of a patient’s infection cannot be traced and isolated. Stage IV is an epidemic, when there several clusters of the infection.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), tasked with containing the epidemic, has publicly maintained that India is still in Stage II, despite the number of cases of people with no known contact to an infected person or travel history rising over the past week.