After war of words between the state government and Centre for the past few days over the arrival of the two inter-ministerial central teams (IMCT) in Bengal, finally one group headed by Mr Apurva Chandra, additional secretary in the defence ministry, visited M R Bangur Hospital, Bengal’s first COVID hospital at Tollygunge, and quarantine centre at the Central government-run Chittaranjan Cancer Hospital’s Rajarhat campus today to take stock of the coronavirus control and management system in the city.

The health ministry has announced Kolkata, Howrah, East Midnapore, North 24 Parganas, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong as seven hotspots of Covid outbreak in Bengal. Another group led by Mr Veenet Joshi, a senior official in the HRD ministry, is visiting north Bengal.

On Wednesday, the team had sought a detailed presentation from the state government seeking to know whether the testing in the state is adequate and critical care arrangements like supply of oxygen, ventilators and CCU facilities are available. The team after visiting M R Bangur Hospital and quarantine centre at Rajarhat submitted a preliminary inspection report to the health ministry later in the day, it is learnt. According to sources at M R Bangur Hospital, the team wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) reached there around 12.30 pm and visited the quarantine ward where around 100 Covid positive patients are being treated and isolation unit accommodating around 150 suspects.

They talked to the patients and wanted to know about any problems related to coronavirus treatment facilities from them. After that they also inspected the critical care unit (CCU) where around 12 Covid patients undergoing treatment with respiratory distress. They enquired about ventilators at the CCU.

The hospital authorities assured the team members saying, “We have adequate number of ventilators and the equipment are provided as and when patients in the CCU require them.” The inspection team also visited the ward which became controversial after a coronavirus patient admitted there made a video showing how two or three Covid dead bodies lying beside other patients at the ward for hours.

The video became viral in the social media prompting the opposition political parties in the state to allege that the state government is fudging the Covid death figures. They central team spoke to the patients at the ward and enquired about the video, sources said. They also wanted to know about the availability of PPE required for doctors, nurses and other staff who attended to the Covid patients and human resources strength at the hospital.

Meanwhile, a Covid suspect admitted to the M R Bangur tried to escape from the hospital when the team members were visiting the Covid preparedness there. The hospital staff caught him after chasing him towards the gate and brought him back.

Earlier in the day they also visited the quarantine centre at Rajarhat and spoke to the people who are Covid suspects. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier slammed the Centre for sending teams to look into Bengal’s preparedness for tackling the Covid-19 outbreak and alleged that faulty testing kits were dispatched to the state.

Eastern Railway hospital doctor tests positive: A doctor at an Eastern Railway (ER) hospital here has tested positive for coronavirus, a spokesperson of the railway zone said on Thursday. The doctor, who was on leave since April 14 as she was feeling unwell, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, ER spokesperson Nikhil Chakraborty said. She has been admitted to a private hospital in the city, he said.

At least 10 staff members of the B R Singh Hospital, the main hospital of the Eastern Railway, have been asked to go on home quarantine by authorities of the medical establishment as they had come in contact with the doctor at their workplace, the spokesperson said. Four members of the doctor’s family have also been asked to remain under home quarantine by the state health department, he said, adding that they will be tested for COVID-19. No coronavirus patient has so far been treated at the B R Singh Hospital, he added.