South Dinajpur district has reported its first three Covid-19 cases in Kushmandi Block. The lorry driver and two migrant workers had returned to Kushmandi recently and had been sent to undergo home quarantine.

Throat swab samples were collected from them at their homes, and they yesterday evening tested positive, sources said “Three areas in Kushmandi Block have now been declared containment zones, while 13 family members of the patients and three others who came in their contact have been taken to quarantine centres,” an official said.

The district administration held a meeting with officials, including those of the health department, at the Balurghat Circuit House today, where important decisions related to Covid management were taken, it is learnt. The District Magistrate and ADM general, SDOs, Kushmandi BDO, and Superintendent of Police, attended the meeting.

“The district administration has decided to set up informal quarantine centres at all possible places to house migrant labourers, who are coming back to their villages. In some cases, local villagers are not allowing them to enter the villages. So the district health department will conduct the tests as quickly as possible in those informal quarantine centres,” official sources said.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr Sukumar Dey, said, “Three villages in Kushmandi have been declared containment zones. We have taken all steps as per the guidelines.”The three patients have been taken to the COVID hospital in North Dinajpur.

“The health department has already collected throat swab samples of their family members. A total of 16 persons from three villages have been taken to quarantine centres. The number can increase tomorrow after w track down more contacts. A total of 116 people are in quarantine centres in the Kushmandi Block, and most of them are migrant workers,” a health department official said.

One case found in Kaliyaganj:

Meanwhile, the Kaliyaganj area in North Dinajpur has detected its first Covid-19 case. A youth of Thaanpara in Ward-4 of the Kaliyaganj Municipality was tested COVID positive last night. The number of Covid cases in the district has now gone up to eight.

Tension spread among people of Kaliyaganj after news of the coronavirus case spread today. Sources said that the administration has now marked Thanapara as a containment zone. All roads leading to the Thaanpara have been blocked with bamboos so as to prevent outsiders from entering the area. The youth who tested positive had recently returned from Kolkata where he had been working.

“Some areas in the municipality have been sealed, but arrangements have been made for the supply of fish, vegetables, and grocery items to the people,” the Chairman of the Kaliyaganj municipality, Kartick Chandra Paul, said.On the other hand, some migrant workers who have returned from outside have occupied some primary schools in Raiganj.

Some workers allegedly broke the lock of the schools at Purba Goalpara and Paschim Goalpara and have started staying there in isolation. The President of the North Dinajpur unit of the West Bengal Trinamool Primary Teachers’ Association, Gauranga Chauhan, said, “We are sympathetic to the migrant workers, but we cannot support their forced entry in schools.

“Their stay in the school may damage important documents in the offices and the school furniture. Raiganj BDO Raju Lama said there is no order to use school buildings as quarantine facilities. “The workers should have been kept in home quarantine. We are looking into the matter,” he said.

Congress helps stranded people return home:

Meanwhile, the West Bengal Pradesh Congrerss arranged for the return of 31 persons to Lakimpur in Assam from Matigara in Siliguri yesterday. State Congress working president and Matigara-Naxalbari MLA Sankar Malakar said some of them were students and traders.

“They were stranded at Matigara and were unable to return home because of lack of transportation due to the lockdown. We arranged for a bus for their return journey yesterday,” Mr Malakar said. The party spent Rs 85,000 for the bus, it is learnt.