Bengal minister tests positive for COVID-19 as state records largest one-day spike with 344 cases

A domestic help at the minister's residence was diagnosed with the disease, following which samples of Bose and his family members were sent for examination.

Published: 29th May 2020 11:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2020 11:35 AM   |  A+A-

A view a 400-bed quarantine facility prepared at the NSCBI Airport for the flight passengers in Kolkata Thursday May 28 2020. (Photo | PTI)


KOLKATA: A minister in West Bengal has tested positive for COVID-19, making it the first such case in the Mamata Banerjee-led state cabinet, a well-placed source in the government said on Friday.

State Fire Services minister Sujit Bose has been advised to undergo home quarantine after his test results came out positive, the source said.

A domestic help at the minister's residence was diagnosed with the disease, following which samples of Bose and his family members were sent for examination.

The reports, which arrived on Thursday night, showed Bose and one of his family members have contracted the virus, the source added.

West Bengal on Thursday registered the biggest one-day spike with 344 people testing positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 4,536.

As many as 223 people have succumbed to the disease in the state so far.

Earlier, the government had attributed the death of 72 coronavirus patients to comorbidities.

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The state recorded the biggest single-day spike of 344 COVID-19 cases on Thursday which took the total tally to 4,536, while the death toll rose to 223 with six more fatalities in the last 24 hours, a state health department bulletin stated.

Of the six fatalities, three were reported in Kolkata, two in Hooghly and one in North 24 Parganas districts.

The number of active cases in the state stood at 2,573, it said.

The highest number of new cases were reported in Kolkata (87), followed by Howrah (55) and North 24 Parganas (49) districts, the bulletin stated.

North Dinajpur recorded its biggest single-day spike till date with 46 new cases.

Other northern districts like Malda saw nine new cases while one each was reported in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling.

Twenty-seven cases were reported in Birbhum, 16 in East Burdwan, 15 in Nadia, 10 in South 24 Parganas, eight in East Midnapore, seven in Murshidabad, four in Bankura three in Hooghly and one each in West Burdwan and West Midnapore districts, the bulletin said.

Two persons hailing from outside the state also tested positive for COVID-19 while the residential addresses of two other patients are yet to be ascertained, it said.

A senior health official attributed the sudden rise in the number of active cases to the increasing number of migrant workers returning to the state.

"Most of the labourers are coming from states which have a high number of COVID-19 cases. We don't know in which condition they were staying in those states. They have been released by administrations of those states without proper diagnosis."

"We are conducting massive testing which is the reason behind the rise in the numbers of confirmed cases," the official told PTI.

According to the bulletin, a total of 90 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours after they tested negative for the disease, taking the total number of recoveries in the state to 1,668.

At least 9,256 samples were tested for the since Wednesday evening.

With this, 1,75,769 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the state so far.

The bulletin stated that the deaths of 72 other COVID-19 patients were due to comorbidities and novel coronavirus was "incidental" in their cases.

Several Shramik Special trains on Thursday arrived in the state from different states, including Maharashtra and Gujarat, two of the most affected states with the COVID-19 disease, officials said here.

One Shramik Special arrived at Burdwan from Bandra, a railway official said.

Two other specials reached Malda from Mumbai and Surat, the official said.

Another special was on its way to New Jalpaiguri from Nagpur in Maharashtra, he said.

Two more Shramik Specials were scheduled to arrive at Howrah later in the night, the railway official said.

Special trains on way to destinations in north Bengal had stoppages at Dankuni near Howrah, at Burdwan and Rampurhat, with hundreds of passengers getting down at these places on way to their homes.

Some special trains bringing in migrant labourers from different states were scheduled to reach various destinations in West Bengal later in the night, the official said.

Medical screening facilities for passengers detraining were set up at all the stations where the special trains had stoppages or at the terminal stations, state officials said.

The state government has set up quarantine facilities for passengers coming from the states which have been affected the most by the coronavirus pandemic.


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