In order to understand whether community transmission of Covid-19 has begun, the health department has started conducting random sampling in north Bengal. While many fear community spread is on, the government denies that such a stage has arrived.

“Random collection of swab samples is underway. All the blocks have been asked to collect at least 20 samples each. It will help us to understand whether community spread has begun,” the officer on special duty of health and family welfare, north Bengal, Dr Susanta Kumar Roy, said today.

A health official said it will help them estimate the prevalence of the coronavirus at the community level and determine the proportion of the populations infected.

The Indian Council of Medical Research-run first serosurvey with state agencies to estimate the sero-prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 infection at the community level had been conducted in Alipurduar district in north Bengal, along with more than 60 other districts, including six in West Bengal, in May.

Asok seeks Covid funds The chairperson of the Board of Administrators (BoA) of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Asok Bhattacharya, has requested the state government to sanction Rs 2 crore for better management of Covid-19 in Siliguri.

Mr Bhattacharya has written to urban development and municipal affairs minister Firhad Hakim, saying the civic body was managing funds of its own. Apart from the day-to-day work, they are arranging for food for the affected families, setting up barricades in containment zones, conducting sanitisation, and distributing masks, sanitisers and PPEs, he said.

In another letter to finance minister Amit Mitra, he has requested release of funds from the 15th Finance Commission for the local bodies.