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Malda reports six more Covid cases; total 19

Around 5-10 samples will be collected daily, officials said, adding that around nine laboratory technicians will be engaged in the process.

Statesman News Service | Malda |

Six more migrant workers who returned recently from Ajmer in Rajasthan have tested positive for Covid-19 in Malda, taking the number of affected persons in the district to 19. The affected have been admitted in the Covid Hospital at Narayanpur under the Malda police station.

Sources, however, all the patients are asymptomatic. The fresh cases include two from Old Malda Block and one each from Kaliachak, Manikchak, Habibpur and Harishchandrapur. Meanwhile, the move to send migrant workers to their villages on their return to Malda from Ajmer after only collecting their throat swab samples and before the arrival of the test reports has come under criticism in the district.

“This has led to four more blocks in the district coming under the containment zone,” sources said. On the other hand, the new cases and the rise in the list of affected persons seemed to have no impact on the masses as streets and market places in English Bazaar remained crowded and more shops opened than the previous week.

“People are roaming about the places like any other normal day, and this has given rise to speculations that the virus will spread more,” the sources said. “The police and the district administration have not taken up a serious role in maintaining the lockdown and social distancing norms,” they added.

According to sources at the Malda Medical College and Hospital, 3301 tests have been conducted until last night and 22 were found positive, including three cases from North Dinajpur.

“The bringing back of migrants to their homes is no doubt an initiative worth praising, but why are they not sent in quarantine centres and sent straight to their homes, where they are asked to remain indoors. The administration must take proper initiatives to set up quarantine centers for the incoming migrants,” BJP’s North Malda MP, Khagen Murmu, said.

SMC swab collection drive Meanwhile, the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) is starting swab collection at the community level of both symptomatic and asymptomatic persons from this week. Laboratory technicians will collect the samples at kiosks at health clinics run by the civic body, it is learnt.

Around 5-10 samples will be collected daily, officials said, adding that around nine laboratory technicians will be engaged in the process.

“We have been demanding large scale tests both in containment zones and general areas in Siliguri to ascertain the Covid-19 situation here. However, it has been decided that lab technicians will collect throat swab samples at Urban Primary Health Centres (UPHC),” said the member of the mayor-in-council of health, SMC, Sankar Ghosh.

Five Wards under the SMC have been classified as containment zones. There are 10 UPHCs under the SMC, but the swabs will be collected at seven centres, the officials said. Public health experts have said that sample testing at the community level will be an important step in the fight against the pandemic.