KOLKATA: A 57-year-old man, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday night, died on Monday afternoon. This is the first death in the state since the outbreak of the disease. Health department officials said the body of the victim would not be handed over to the family and the state government would dispose of it.
The victim’s wife, son and two other family members have been sent to the quarantine centre at Rajarhat and the domestic help of the family was admitted to Beleghata ID Hospital.
Though family members told police that the victim did not leave the country in the recent past, health department officials said the man had gone to Italy where his son studies. While announcing the death in an all-party meeting on Monday, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said, "The person had gone to Italy recently."
Panchu Roy, the chairman of South Dum Dum Municipality, said the person had gone to Italy last month and his son also came home recently.
"He went to Bilaspur in Chattisgarh on February 26 and returned home on March 2 in the Pune-Howrah Azad Hind Express. The source from where the man contracted the virus is not known yet. He travelled in a train that originated from Maharashtra where the virus outbreak is severe. He might have contracted the virus from a co-passenger," said a health department official.
The man was admitted to a private healthcare unit on March 16 with breathing problems and cough. On April 19, swabs were collected and reports received from the SSKM Hospital confirmed the man contracted the virus. Samples were sent to Pune for a second test which also corroborated the SSKM test.
The man started suffering from respiratory problems from March 13 and he was admitted to the private healthcare unit three days later. Doctors at the hospital said oxygen was supplied to him by using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine at the intensive care unit of the hospital since March 19.
"His condition started deteriorating from Sunday evening and around 4 pm on Sunday, the patient suffered a massive cardiac arrest," said a spokesperson of the hospital.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Prime Minister requesting him to issue instructions to stop all flights coming to Bengal.
"We have stopped all inter-state public transport and have reduced intra-state public transport to a bare minimum. We are seriously concerned that the Government of India is still allowing operation of flights causing a huge breach of shutdown and quarantine protocol with no arrangements of social distancing that we are so painfully managing in the state. I would therefore, request you to kindly arrange to issue necessary instructions to stop all flights coming to West Bengal with immediate effect so that the source of spreading infection is effectively contained and lockdown in the state is implemented in true spirit,’’ Mamata wrote in the letter.