Bengal Minister Sujit Bose tests positive for COVID-19

Published : May 29, 2020 21:26 IST

Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Sujit Bose. Photo: PTI

Trinamool Congress heavyweight and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Sujit Bose has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first case of a high-profile Cabinet Minister of the State getting infected with the coronavirus. Bose and his wife, along with a domestic help have tested positive though they have so far shown no symptoms of the infection and have been put under home quarantine.

“Our cook who lives nearby was tested positive for COVID-19, following which our entire family, including our other helping hand got ourselves tested, even though none of us were showing any symptoms. The test results said three of us are COVID-positive, but my children are not,” said Bose. His infection, however, has caused a minor panic, as he has been very active in distributing relief materials following super cyclone Amphan and visiting different parts of his constituency and meeting people to make assessments of the devastation.

Meanwhile, COVID cases have been increasing at an alarming rate across the State, with the situation becoming more vulnerable with thousands of migrant labourers returning to the State. As of May 29, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the State stood at 4,813, with 277 new cases in the last 24 hours. The number of active cases is 2,899. On May 28, the State saw its biggest spike in one day with 344 fresh cases. The total number of COVID-positive patients who have died stands at 309 (as of May 29), including 72 deaths due to co-morbidity that was declared on April 30. The number of samples tested till May 29 is 1,85,051. In the past seven days the government has tested more than 9,000 samples per day.

In the present situation, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision on May 29 to reopen places of worship from June 1, and allow private and government offices to resume work with full attendance, has raised concerns in the medical fraternity. She has also allowed the labour-intensive industries of tea and jute to resume operations with full strength. Only schools will remain closed throughout June. Although Mamata has laid down certain rules, including not allowing more than 10 people at a time in religious shrines, and no standing in buses, many doctors feel that it is not the right time for such relaxations. “The COVID- cases are going to peak in June. At the time when there were just a few cases per day there was a complete lockdown, now when hundreds are getting infected every day, is it wise to open up everything? It will be very difficult to enforce social distancing in spite of all the stipulations that have been laid down. And social distancing is a must,” a well-known Kolkata-based doctor, who did not wish to be named, told Frontline.

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