Mamata Banerjee accuses Centre of delaying coronavirus medical kits for Bengal
The West Bengal government has started equipping all the state-run and private hospitals with ambulances, ventilators and emergency medical kits including masks and personal protective gears to prepare for a contingency.Updated: Mar 19, 2020, 23:43 IST
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the union government on Thursday allegedly for not sending medical kits needed to fight the outbreak of COVID-19, in time.
“If after death comes the doctor then what’s the use of that?” Banerjee said, adding that she would request the centre to send the medical kits in time.
“We have also requested the union government to give permission so that more laboratories could come up in the state. If we don’t get the permission now, then what’s the use? The state will also ask the Indian Council of Medical Research to issue the guidelines in time. Please don’t waste time. Time is running out,” she said.
The West Bengal government has started equipping all the state-run and private hospitals with ambulances, ventilators and emergency medical kits including masks and personal protective gears to prepare for a contingency in case of a sudden outbreak of COVID-19 in the state.
The chief minister said that at least 800 isolation-beds have been prepared in and around Kolkata for the impending emergency situation. This is over and above the isolation beds that have been kept ready in other districts.
Till date, one patient, an 18-year-old youth, has been detected with COVID-19 from the state while more than 17,000 people have been kept under isolation at hospitals and home. His parents, the maid, driver and caretaker have all tested negative, a senior health official said.
Meanwhile panic gripped Kolkata residents as rumours spread that the local markets could be closing down leading to scarcity of daily essentials and food items. Citizens started hoarding items such as paddy, dal, cooking oil, tea, salt etc. Some online grocery stores said that they would take a week to deliver as there was a heavy rush.
Banerjee, however, said the markets will not close down even though there could be some shortage as borders have been closed. Around 1500 – 2000 trucks are stuck at the Indo-Bangladesh border as they are not being allowed to enter.
She also asked officials to ensure that trucks carrying perishable food items should not get stuck at state borders as the rotten items could trigger another disease.
“We can’t afford to have an outbreak of another disease during this time. We are in the second stage of the outbreak. The next two to three weeks are very crucial. The disease has already entered Kolkata,” she added.
The police commissioners and superintendents of police of districts have been asked to keep a watch and take strict action against anyone spreading rumours. District magistrates should also monitor the situation round-the-clock and ensure that there is no hoarding resulting in artificial scarcity of items.