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Coronavirus | Doctors to work alternative weeks, says Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee   | Photo Credit: PTI

Active COVID-19 cases rise to 132 with 17 infections detected in the past 24 hours

To provide relief to doctors and medical staff who are at the forefront in the fight against the COVID-19, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced that doctors of State-run facilities would work alternative weeks.

“The doctors and other medical staff will work for seven days and remain at rest for seven days. I will urge the Chief Secretary to look into the matter,” Ms. Banerjee said.

In the past two days, at least four State-run hospitals and two medical colleges were either partially or completely shut after some patients had tested positive for the COVID-19.

Many associations and forums of doctors have welcomed the move.

“We have been doing this at the Medical Superspeciality Hospital in the city for quite some time. Instead of one week we are doing this for two weeks. The reasons being that consider team A [which comprises doctors and other staff] comes in contact with a patient and if the patient tests positive then the whole team will have to go into quarantine. In is in this situation that team B which is at home steps in,” Arjun Dasgupta, president of the West Bengal Doctors Forum said. He said similar measures were being adopted in a number of government hospitals.

The Chief Minister also highlighted instances of social ostracising of medical staff in districts and warned that those who harass the family members of the medical staff might be arrested.

In certain areas of the city, particularly like Belgachia, Ultadanga and Metiabruz, locals and police blocked the entrance. In Lake town, sanitation workers were seen cleaning some areas using Personal Protective Equipment. There is still no information from the State government about the COVID-19 hotspots in the State or the city.

Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said the number of active cases had increased to 132 with 17 new infections detected in the past 24 hours. The number of deaths has remained at seven. He said the figures of death would be updated after the report from the audit committee set up by the State government looks into COVID-19 deaths. The figures released by the Union Health Ministry said the number of infected persons remains 213 and the number of deaths at seven. The State has informed that 42 persons have recovered while the Centre’s data reveals that 37 persons have recovered.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Wednesday said the police and the administration are failing to effect full lockdown and stressed the need for Central forces.

“Lockdown protocol has to be thoroughly implemented to ward off #coronavirus. Police and administration @MamataOfficial failing to effect 100% #SocialDistancing or curbing religious congregations be shown door,” Mr Dhankhar tweeted. “Lockdown must succeed-examine Central para forces requisitioning!” he said.

The remarks did not go well with the State government. Without mentioning the Governor, Ms. Banerjee said some people are trying to fish in troubled waters. “Why do we need paramilitrary forces,” she asked. “Be it police or paramilitary those coming in contact with patients are developing infections.”

Ms. Banerjee also expressed displeasure about media reports saying higher number of people have died of the infection in the State. “Is it a matter of joy that more people have died? Is it something to glorify,” she asked, adding that FIRs could be lodged against those coming up with such reports. She also urged employers not to sack staff in this difficult time including those working in media. She appealed to people to use masks whenever they are stepping out and even demonstrated how they can use a piece of cloth to cover their face and nose.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2020 6:09:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-doctors-to-work-alternative-weeks-says-mamata-banerjee/article31351382.ece

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