A three-member central team from Delhi visited Howrah today to take stock of COVID19 outbreak in the district, one of the 13 hotspot zones in the country where 70 per cent of total coronavirus positive cases across states were reported so far.

The team members sat on a meeting with Howrah district magistrate Mrs Mukta Aryaa and Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) administrator Mr Dhabal Jail and discussed COVID management and control the situation in the district.

They also made on-thespot visits to the Howrah District Hospital (HDH) where first coronavirus death in the district was reported during April.

Several doctors and nurses of the hospital had also contracted the COVID infection. After that, they rushed to a private healthcare Sanjiban Hospital where the state government has set a COVID hospital to provide treatment to coronavirus patients and suspects in Howrah and adjoining districts.

Howrah has recorded the second-highest number of around 1500 COVID positive cases after Kolkata in the entire state so far.

According to the state health department, more than 50 novel coronavirus deaths have been reported in the district since April. On the other hand, HMC (HMC) has disposed of an alarming number of more than 95 bodies following disposal protocols of coronavirus at one designated crematorium and two burial grounds respectively in the city since 2 April.

The cremations and burials of so many bodies following COVID-19 guidelines only in the HMC area have triggered panic among concerned officials in the civic body prompting them to raise questions, “Is Howrah city becoming an epicentre of coronavirus?”

“We can’t say whether all the 89 bodies were COVID-19 positive but they have been disposed of at Shibpur crematorium and Andul and Byantra burial grounds respectively as per safety measures stipulated in the coronavirus deaths disposal protocols. All of them had died in COVID hospitals at ILS Salkia, Sanjiban in Uluberia and staterun Satyabala ID Hospital Hospital at Liluah,” sources in the HMC said.