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Complete lockdown of hotspots: State govt

Complete lockdown of hotspots: State govt

Kolkata: The state government has decided to ensure "complete lockdown" by imposing restrictions on even entry and exit of persons at all the areas identified as "hotspots" to check the spread of COVID-19.

There are nine to 10 such areas but the state government has not yet named them considering a panic situation. This comes a day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with all the Chief Ministers, including Mamata Banerjee in which a decision on the extension of the lockdown across the country may be taken.

Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha on Friday said: "We have to take stricter steps at the identified hotspots. An almost complete lockdown has to be imposed."

No one will be allowed to enter or exit the hotspots during the complete lockdown. At the same time, there are provisions for shifting of markets out of those hotspots, with even the local administration being given the power to take a call on the closure of markets and roads in the areas. It would be same for hotspots in both rural and urban areas. The local authorities are taking all measures to impose the set restrictions and at the same time ensuring that people, who are in those hotspots, do not face any problem in getting food, medicines and other essential commodities.

Sinha further stated: "These measures are not pleasant ones. It will increase inconvenience but we do not have any other choice. We are forced to go for the complete lockdown as we don't want the disease to spread like wildfire. We seek cooperation in this regard."

Explaining the methods taken up by the state government in confining the disease within the identified areas, the Chief Secretary said: "If a village is identified as a hotspot then the entire Gram Panchayat, within which the village is situated, is getting considered as a cluster while people of the entire block will be in the list of those vulnerable to the disease. Based on the data, health workers would take all the necessary measures."

However, there is nothing to panic as there is no sharp rise in terms of positive cases in the state as it has been found that 8 to 12 persons on an average have tested positive every day in the past seven, eight days.

Sinha held a video conference with all concerned District Magistrates and Kolkata Municipal Corporation authorities in this regard.

The total number of positive cases in Bengal so far is 89 with 12 testing positive in the past 24 hours. Three persons were released from hospital after they tested negative to COVID-19 on Friday. The death toll in the state due to the disease stands at five so far as per the report of the audit committee.

The state government has set up 20 new quarantine centres taking its total number to 582. Currently, as many as 44,474 are in home quarantine. Sinha said various methods have been used to ensure that people remain in home quarantine for 14 days. However, there is no report of any more from Howrah District Hospital getting infected to the virus.

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