West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that the Information Technology (IT) cells of certain political parties were spreading misinformation on the State governments attempts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
This is not the time to joke or indulge in politics. It has come to our notice that the IT cell of certain political parties are spreading fake news using the official bulletin of the Health Department, the Chief Minister said while addressing a press conference at the State Secretariat.
Instead of helping
Ms. Banerjee said that instead of helping people in this time of distress, the cells were misleading them. The Chief Minister said that despite getting no help from the Centre, the State was cooperating with the Union government. Ms. Banerjee maintained that she had held a press conference on the situation on Friday, and on Saturday State Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha had spoken to the media.
Earlier in the day, Amit Malviya, in charge of the Bharatiya Janata Partys IT cell had tweeted that there had been no medical bulletin from the Bengal government on 2nd, 3rd and 5th Apr. The tweet highlighted the Mysterious case of Missing Death Figures and also asked What is Mamata Banerjee Hiding.
61 active cases
The Chief Minister said that there were 61 active cases in the State, of which 55 cases were from seven families. Ms. Banerjee said that 11 members of a family in Kalimpong were infected, and then 12 persons from Egra in Purba Medinipur, and five persons from Tehatta in Nadia.
She added that 1,301 tests had been conducted in the State and there were 59 designated COVID-19 hospitals in the State, including four in Kolkata.
Ms. Banerjee urged patients with respiratory distress to report to M. R. Bangur Hospital in the southern parts of the city and not report at the Medical College Hospital Kolkata or the NRS Medical College and Hospital.
She said that the State government had received 2.7 lakh PPE (personal protective equipment) for doctors and orders for about 9 lakh PPEs were pending.
The Chief Minister assured that masks and hand sanitisers were being adequately organised by the State government.
Ms. Banerjee also announced that her government will be setting up the Global Advisory Board for COVID Response Policy in West Bengal, comprising of internationally acclaimed intellectuals like Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, to help revive the economy and society after the nationwide lockdown period.
Earlier, there was notebandi (demonetisation) and now there is gharbandi (lockdown). Because of this lockdown, there is no business, shops are not opening, no trade is taking place, and people are living under very difficult circumstances. In this scenario, we are trying to find a path to revive the economy. We do not know how long we have to stay in this manner...But in such times of epidemic, we have to make plans for the future, she said.
Earlier, the CM had spoken to Dr. Banerjee and his wife, Nobel laureate Esther Duflo, to help spread awareness on the coronavirus outbreak in the State.