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KMC health dept’s top Covid warrior tests +ve

Atin Ghosh had been supervising all the health initiatives of the KMC

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s (KMC) board member in charge of health, and former deputy mayor, Mr Atin Ghosh took to social media today announcing that he and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19. This has created a flutter in the health department of the civic body.

Mr Ghosh had been supervising all the health initiatives of the KMC during this pandemic period. He wrote on Facebookthat he tested Covid19 positive yesterday despite taking proper self awareness measures while fulfilling his role in fighting the pandemic in the city as a “first row” Covid warrior.

He announced that his symptoms are mild and hence he has self-isolated himself in his residence along with his wife who too tested positive for the virus with mild symptoms. Mr Ghosh said despite contracting the disease, the couple is feeling “completely well”. He assured that he will join work once his quarantine period is over. Sources revealed Mr Ghosh had last visited the KMC headquarters a few days back when he was attending a board meeting.

This has meanwhile created a stir in the health department of KMC, as per sources, where the chief medical health officer (CMHO) Soumitra Ghosh too tested positive for the virus. KMC’s Clerks Union has lodged a complaint with the board chairman Firhad Hakim and with the KMC commissioner that Soumitra Ghosh despite coming in contact with an infected KMC worker, had refused to go for home isolation, defying all quarantine protocols. They alleged he continued to attend office and hence further spread the disease in the department.

The general secretary of the union, Amitava Bhattacharya has alleged that previously when one KMC worker in the birth/death certificate division tested positive and subsequently died, the CMHO didn’t allow others, who came in contact with the deceased worker, to go for quarantine.

Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was enforced across West Bengal today to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases. Violations of the lockdown norms were observed in some districts.

The city roads were empty today since morning with all public transport, government and private offices, banks and other commercial establishments, barring those dealing with essential services, remaining closed. Flight operations in and out of the Kolkata international airport were suspended for the day while long- distance trains were rescheduled. Ferry services too remained suspended.

Essential services like medicine shops and health establishments were open since these were kept out of the purview of the complete shutdown. Petrol pumps were also allowed to function on days of the bi-weekly lockdown.

The overnight rain that continued this morning also forced people to stay indoors while security was tightened to enforce the lockdown. Police personnel were patrolling major traffic intersections in Kolkata and had set up checkpoints to stop vehicles that have ventured out without any valid reason. Violation was observed in some districts where police personnel baton- charged the offenders. The next complete lockdown will be on August 31, Monday.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had on Wednesday announced the extension of closure of educational institutes till September 20 and complete lockdown across West Bengal on September 7, 11 and 12. The Covid-19 death toll in the state rose to 2,964 on Wednesday after 55 people succumbed to the disease, a bulletin issued by the health department said. The state’s coronavirus tally went up to 1,47,775 with 2,974 fresh cases, it added.