CPI(M) attacks Mamata government over lack of clarity in COVID-19 data

Published : April 12, 2020 22:30 IST

Surjya Kanta Mishra, West Bengal State secretary of CPI(M). A file picture. Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) came down heavily on the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal for the lack of clarity in the data presented by the latter on the outbreak of COVID-19 in the State. Addressing the media on April 12, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and West Bengal State secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said that the people need to get a clear picture of the COVID-19 situation so that they can take necessary precautions. Mishra, a doctor himself, was critical of the State government’s policy of ascertaining coronavirus deaths even in COVID-19 positive cases.

“In our State we know how many deaths have taken place through information filtering in from outside the government, and one thing is certain that it is more than what the State government is claiming it to be.” As of April 12, official figure of the number of deaths in the State due to COVID-19 is five.

Referring to earlier instances when the government did not acknowledge cases as COVID-19 deaths because the patients had been admitted with co-morbidities, Mishra pointed out that such arguments were specious. “If a person had been tested positive with coronavirus, then whatever other illnesses he may have had, his death must be seen as a COVID-19 death, and a report must be made to that effect. But that is not what is happening here. It is a known fact that those with co-morbities are more susceptible to die if they get coronavirus. So, it is pointless to insist that a particular COVID-19 positive patient had died of kidney problems or other ailments. He would not have died had be not been afflicted with COVID-19. Any confusion regarding this is in violation of the norms being followed internationally and nationally,” said Mishra.

Earlier the government set up a five-member committee to “ascertain the cause of death of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19”. Mishra pointed out that by insisting that a coronavirus positive person died of other causes, the deceased’s family is being denied insurance benefits that are linked to COVID-19 deaths.

Mishra maintained that more tests need to be carried out and there should be greater transparency from the government’s end. “People of the State need to be updated every day about the situation,” he said. He urged the government to increase rapid testing for coronavirus. “By doing more rapid testing it will be possible to ascertain how far the virus has spread in the community,” he said.

He also expressed concern about the economic situation brought about by the outbreak and urged the Centre to extend monetary assistance to the poor and those in the unorganised sector who had lost their jobs. “Give Rs.5,000 through the Jan Dhan Yojana as you had promised. Put money into the hands of the poor and those labourers in the unorganised sector who have lost their jobs… You have to ensure that not one person dies of starvation. This is not such a difficult task,” he said. He pointed out that in cases where the Centre could not provide employment, it should at least provide relief.