Malda district today sent its first sample of throat swab for COVID-19 tests to the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata. Among the four persons in quarantine, the sample of one of the three women were sent for tests by the Malda Medical College and Hospital (MMCH) after the woman developed symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

There are 39 others in home quarantine in the district, health officials said. The district magistrate, superintendent of police, MMCH medical superintendent and vice-principal, the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) and other district officials held a video conference with the state health secretary this morning and specifically discussed police arrangements to maintain lockdown in the district.

On the other hand, police were seen active and employing mild force to ensure the lockdown, in the course of which five persons were detained. “Three women and a man have been quarantined in the hospital and the throat swab of one of those women has been sent for tests, the result of which might arrive in two days,” MMCH MSVP Amit Dawn said.

“We also held talks today to have a 15-2-bed isolation ward for anyone found to be affected,” he added. CMOH Bhusan Chakrabarty said, “Now there are 39 cases of home quarantine in the district, but the figure changes every day. Today’s video conference stressed on policing the district during the lockdown.”

Meanwhile, police were seen active on the roads to stop people from coming out of their homes. Police had to use batons at places to stop people from gathering unnecessarily. At Rathbari Market and on NH34 beside the MMCH, the police were seen enforcing the lockdown to stop unnecessary gathering in small tea stalls and fast food counters.

The initiative from the police has been welcomed by people in Malda like professor Shantinath Chatterjee and human rights activists Jishnu Roychoudhury. SP Alok Rajoria said, “The police will take strict action against people violating the orders. The response from the people was satisfactory today.”