In an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 cases, the administration has decided to extend the lockdown in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) for one more week. While the complete sevenday lockdown in the SMC area will end tomorrow night, the administration today announced that the same has been extended up to 29 July.

“The number of active Covid cases in Siliguri has neither increased nor decreased during this period, but the existing figure is high. It is very important to slow down the spike following the health guidelines. In order to safeguard the people, the existing lockdown will be extended for seven more days,” said state tourism minister Gautam Deb, who chaired a meeting of the Darjeeling district Task Force on Covid-19 management in Siliguri today.

As of 20 July, the number of active cases in the district was 548. Emergency services will, however, be kept out of the purview of the lockdown. The meeting also decided to increase the containment zones at Matigara and Sukna, while vegetable and fruits market at the Siliguri Regulated Market and the SJDA Market at Champasari will be opened, Mr Deb said.

He said he would also request the Jalpaiguri district administration to extend the containment zone orders at four gram panchayats–Fulbari- I, Fulbari-II, Dabgram-I and Dabgram-II under the Rajganj block near Siliguri. Traders had appealed to the state government to extend the lockdown. “We had requested the state government to extend the lockdown in the town for at least seven more days to break the coronavirus chain,” said the convener of the Eastern ABC Chamber of Commerce & Industries, Surajit Paul.

It is an apex body of 121 big and small business organisations in north Bengal Three patients die Meanwhile, three persons who had tested positive for Covid-19 died in the past 24 hours in Siliguri. One person died at the Desun (Covid) hospital today. A Jalpaiguri resident, who was admitted on 19 July, died today. He was 78.

On the other hand, a woman from Birpara in Alipurduar died in a private hospital at Pradhannagar last night, while a 49-year-old resident of Sevoke Road, Siliguri, also died there today. The Siliguri Municipal Corporation witnessed a significant drop in new cases, as only seven were detected in the past 24 hours. SMC to collect swabs

The civic body will collect swabs from asymptomatic persons through three separate kiosks. Mr Deb said the civic body will send the samples to the Siliguri District Hospital. He said two ambulances had been given to the SMC. More safe homes A 150-bed safe home for asymptomatic or people suffering from mild symptoms will come up at the SMC area and another one at Matigara, Mr Deb said.

One more 100-bed safe home will be arranged for in Jalpaiguri soon. Hearse problem Mr Deb said people had been complaining about nonavailability of hearses to take dead Covid patients from private nursing homes. He said the district administration will look into the problem.

Mr Deb also said that the number of semi-ICU beds at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital and the Siliguri District Hospital will be increased, and that one more private health facility will treat Covid-19 patients. 58 more in Malda A total of 58 fresh cases of Covid-19 were detected last night in Malda. Thirty-five of the total cases are from the English Bazaar Municipality area, and 13 are from Gazole, sources said.

Some of the affected persons are from police stations, banks, land reforms office and even some IB personnel, it is learnt. While the extended lockdown of two more days ends tonight, the district administration has not yet announced a further extension. Nine in Kalimpong Nine cases of Covid-19 were reported in Kalimpong district today. Sources said five cases were found in places like Dungra Basti, 10th Mile, Reshambari and Gorubathan, and that they had a travel history of Kerala and Bihar.

Also today, four cases were reported in Kalimpong town, two days after three cases had been detected there. The four included one male, a female and two girl children of Ward No 3, sources said. According to sources, the four had returned to Kalimpong from Bihar on 9 July, while their samples were taken on 17 July. “They have been tested positive, and being asymptomatic, they have been taken to the safe home at Disha Centre,” Kalimpong Muncipality Chairman Ravi Pradhan said.