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COVID-19: Seven out of ten patients released in Kolkata, Bengal civic polls likely to be postponed

However, three more persons, including an elderly woman with a recent travel-history to Mecca, were admitted at the same ward of the Beliaghata ID Hospital.

Published: 16th March 2020 03:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th March 2020 03:18 AM   |  A+A-

People wearing masks due to coronavirus outbreak.

People wearing masks due to coronavirus outbreak. (Photo | EPS, Dinesh)

By PTI

KOLKATA: Seven out of the 10 persons, who were admitted with symptoms of coronavirus at an isolation ward of a government hospital here, were discharged on Sunday after they tested negative, officials said.

However, three more persons, including an elderly woman with a recent travel-history to Mecca, were admitted at the same ward of the Beliaghata ID Hospital here, they added.

The woman, in her 60s, had initially managed to flee from the hospital on the pretext of making calls to family members, officials said, adding, police eventually traced her.

The two other persons hail from the city, they said.

Till Saturday, a total of 73,558 persons have been screened at the Kolkata and Bagdogra airports, a senior official said.

"Around 2,46,458 people have been screened at seven land border check posts along the state's border with Nepal and Bangladesh. We have also screened 3,989 crew members of ships in three-port," he said.

In view of the coronavirus outbreak, the West Bengal government had announced the closure of educational institutes till March 31.

Board examinations, however, will continue as per schedule.

Precautionary measures are also in place at popular tourist spots in the state.

The Calcutta High Court and all subordinate courts in West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar also said they will hear only urgent matters from March 17 to avoid mass gatherings in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 107 on Sunday, with Maharashtra reporting the highest followed by Kerala.

The upcoming civic elections in West Bengal are likely to be postponed over the novel coronavirus pandemic as the ruling TMC appealed to the State Election Commission on Sunday to defer the polls, a demand that found resonance among the Opposition parties too.

A final decision will be taken by the SEC following an all-party meeting on Monday.

Elections to 107 municipal bodies of the state and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation are being viewed as a litmus test for the TMC and the BJP, a year ahead of the crucial Assembly polls.

Sources claim the state government was earlier was keen on holding the elections between April 12 and 26.

"The final decision will be taken after seeking the opinion of all political parties and the state government on Monday," an SEC official said.

"But with the ruling party itself demanding the polls to be deferred, it is most likely that the polls would be deferred."

In a statement, the Trinamool Congress said it would appeal to the SEC for postponing the upcoming civic polls amid the COVID-19 crisis.

"Elections will come and go, but politics must take a backseat when society is faced with such a threat," it said.

"We urge all political parties to join hands and fight this together."

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the party would support any decision taken by the government keeping in mind the larger public interest.

"We are ready for polls, but in the wake of this crisis, if for the larger interest of the people, the state government and SEC takes a decision, we will support it," Ghosh said.

Senior Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya said his party would always support a decision that had been taken considering public sentiment.

"In the wake of this crisis, if the elections are deferred by few days, there is no harm in it," Bhattacharya said.

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty echoed him, saying it was for the state government and the SEC to take a call on the matter, but the party would support any "pro-people decision" regarding the matter.

The state government had on Saturday announced the closure of all educational institutions till March 31 as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which has killed over 6,000 people globally.

The board exams, however, will continue as per schedule.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in the country rose to 107 on Sunday, with Maharashtra reporting the highest positive cases, followed by Kerala.

Two persons have died in Karnataka and Delhi due to the coronavirus.

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