Six markets under the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) will remain closed for seven days from 29 June after some Covid-19 cases were detected in those areas. Expressing concern over the spurt in Covid cases in Siliguri, state tourism minister Gautam Deb has asked the Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri district administrations to enforce the lockdown strictly in areas where the number of cases is high or in other areas where the possibility of the infection spreading is high and where markets are witnessing unruly crowds.

According to Mr Deb, the decision had been taken to impose the lockdown rules properly in Wards 18, 28 and 46 and to ensure closure of markets in those wards. The chairman of the committee for markets under the SMC, Sonam Wangdi Bhutia, said they had decided on close the markets to contain the spread of the virus as part of the containment measures.

The Siliguri Town Station market and vegetable market at Tikia Para under Wards 18 and 28, respectively, will be shut from Monday. Traders in Salugara had already shut their market from Friday for the next seven days, while the administration too said it will close the market from 29 June for the next seven days.

Markets at Ektiasal (Ward 40), Haidar Para (Ward 39) and Bangla Bazaar (Ward 42) under the Bhaktinagar police stations will also be shut from Monday. The administration has already closed down the Siliguri Regulated Market, the largest wholesale fish, vegetable and fruit market in the region, after some persons working there were tested positive for Covid-19.

The situation has also led the administration to shut the Champasari market. “The markets have been selected for closure in areas where a maximum number of Covid-19 cases are found,” an administrative official said. Death in hotel paid quarantine An “unnatural death” has occurred in a paid hotel quarantine in Siliguri.

The 36- year-old resident of Jyotirmay Colony under Ward 32 had returned from Mumbai and had opted for paid quarantine in a hotel at Nabin Sen Road under Ward 10. He was found dead yesterday. Police said they have sent the body for post-mortem. It is learnt that his swab samples have tested negative for Covid-19. Family members said Biplab Saha had returned from Mumbai, where he used to work in a jewellery unit, on 22 June.

Though the health department had advised him to remain in 14 days’ home quarantine, local people had objected to the same, sources said. Family members said he had last contacted them over phone yesterday morning. They contacted the hotel authorities in the evening and later in the night he was found dead in his room, it is learnt.

Questions are now being raised on the monitoring of the health department on occupants in such quarantine facilities. Six fresh cases Meanwhile, the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) today saw a fall in the number of Covid-19 cases. Among the seven fresh cases detected, three were from Ward 46, two in Ward 18 and one each in Ward 31 and Ward43. Malda food stall owner tests positive In Malda, a man operating a street food stall at Foara More, one of the most congested and popular places, under the English Bazaar police station has been tested positive for Covid-19, adding to concerns that community transmission of the virus had begun in some areas in Malda.

The man has now been admitted in the Covid hospital, while the shop has been sealed, sources said. A total of 47 more cases, including this youth from Baluchar, have been reported in the district in tests carried out in the Malda Medical College and Hospital last night, sources said. “Ten among the fresh cases are from the English Bazaar area, and the total number of cases in the district has now crossed the 500 mark,” sources said.

Later, the state health bulletin said the total number of cases in Malda was 533 so far. According to the sources, people at the Foara More were taken aback as EBM staff cordoned off the area and sealed the shop. Later, an ambulance reached the spot and took the infected to the Covid hospital, it is learnt.

“The youth had returned from some other state and instead of going into home quarantine, he had started the food stall, where several people visited until he was found carrying the virus this morning,” sources said. One new case in Alipurduar district Only one new Covid-19 case was detected in Alipurduar today, and that has taken the total number of cases in the district to 182.