Seven Covid hotspots have been identified in Bengal that are being closely monitored by the state government while the death toll in Bengal is five with 69 active cases of which 60 are from nine families, said chief minister Mamata Banerjee at a Press Conference in Nabanna.

“Earlier we had said that the Covid death toll was three. Today after an audit our death toll has reached five. Our experts have also given their opinion. The active cases are 69 of whom 60 are from nine families,” she said. Banerjee refused to specify the seven Covid hotspots as it would leave people panicstricken.

“These places have been kept under strict surveillance so that infection does not spread to other areas,” she said. To provide further relief to people in unorganised sector, Banerjee announced special exemption to flower sellers and bidi workers.

The flower sellers would not be restricted by the police from tomorrow and flower markets would open from Thursday, she said. Kisan Mandis would also start operating from tomorrow. The bidi making process has to be done in the houses and bidi workers have to maintain social distancing, she said.

A maximum of seven people can gather during bidi making and agents have to carry the bidis from the workers to the markets. Banerjee today slammed the Centre for making people stand in long queues for opening zero balance accounts and gas connections.

“The Government of India had invoked the lockdown and they are now ignoring it. Had we been told then we could have done the job by organising small groups for this,” she said adding that state chief secretary Rajiva Sinha will write to the respective ministries in this regard.

The chief minister further criticised a section of the political parties for asking the ration dealers to give them the foodgrains for distribution among the poor. Banerjee appealed people to celebrate the upcoming festivals of Shab-e-Barat on Thursday and Poila Baishak on 14 April by staying in their homes. She also assured that migrant workers who reach the state after the withdrawal of the lockdown would be kept in quarantine centres.