The 10-year-old son of a Covid-19-positive patient, a fruit seller in Siliguri, also tested positive for the virus today. A resident of Ward 6, the man was tested positive yesterday and he is undergoing treatment at Dr Chang’s (Covid) hospital at Matigara.

Another person from Ward 27 also tested positive yesterday. Health department officials said the five family members of the fruit seller had been sent to a quarantine facility yesterday.

“Samples of their throat swabs were tested and the report of the male child has come positive,” said a health department official. On the other hand, in order to prevent community transmission, especially in slums in Ward-6, the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) is working on a special action plan. Though it could not be verified If the fruit seller had some recent travel history, health department sources said he used to frequent the Siliguri Regulated Market (SRM).

“Unless the source of the contagion is traced, it will remain a matter of concern for the health department,” sources said. Many officials of the department, however, said it was tough to pinpoint whether Covid-19 was spreading through local transmission in the town.

“We held detailed discussions on the prevailing Covid-19 situation today. We have focused on preparing a special action plan, especially for the slums, congested localities, to prevent the spread. In the meeting, we asked the civic body officials to prepare a special action plan within two days after discussing with the Darjeeling district administration, health department and police. The action plan will be applicable for wards including 1, 6, 7, 18, 28,” said the chairperson of the board of administrators, SMC, Asok Bhattacharya.

Public health experts say the demographic density, particularly in low-income settlements in urban India, has been posing some unprecedented challenges in containing the Covid-19 contagion. Explaining the density of population in those areas, Mr Bhattacharya said there were around four families in every 10 square meters.

The chairperson and civic body officials visited those two wards, areas of which were disinfected, while police barricaded the surrounding areas. Meanwhile, administrative officers said there will be intense sanitisation, cleanliness drive, and other steps to ensure social distancing at the regulated market. The civic body has restricted the entry of visitors in the offices.

Mr Bhattacharya said he was not in favour of opening markets at busy places like Hill Cart Road, Bidhan Road, Mahabirsthan, Hawkers’ Corner, and Sevoke Road, as the state government is planning to allow economic activities outside the containment zones in two phases from 21 May and 27 May.

The SMC, meanwhile, will buy 10 more spraying machines and 10 infrared thermometers.On the other hand, the health department has collected swabs of 13 others, who live close to the family in Ward 6. Those persons have also been quarantined.

It is learnt that 13 persons, who live in an apartment with the 47-yearold, who has also been found to be positive, have been advised to remain in home quarantine.

Engineer commits suicide: 

An assistant engineer of the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad, Subha Nandy, is suspected to have committed suicide. His hanging body was recovered from his residence at Ward 38. Family members said the 39-year-old had been suffering from depression.

Trinamul greets ‘warriors’:

The Darjeeling district Trinamul Congress greeted 13 boarders of the apartment in Ward 27, where a person was tested positive for Covid-19. District party chief Ranjan Sarkar said those residents were real warriors against Covid-19.

“We wanted to encourage and boost the morale of those Covid warriors,” Mr Sarkar said.

11 new cases in Malda:

In Malda district, migrant workers who have been returning in droves continue to contribute to the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases. Eleven more samples collected from the Gourkanya bus terminus a few days ago were found positive last night.

The fresh cases have taken the total number of cases in the district to 45. On the other hand, 11 patients have also been released from the COVID hospital after they were cured. According to health officials, 10 of the fresh cases were from Manikchak, and one case was from the Gazole Block.

All the 11 are now undergoing treatment in the COVID Hospital at Narayanpur under the Malda pol ice station.