As the second wave of coronavirus has gripped the nation in its clutches, West Bengal has brought back its Covid Warrior Club, a group of 650-plus odd individuals who had last year been recruited by the state government after they recovered from coronavirus to assist the doctors and health staff. Along with other states, West Bengal has also seen a sharp spike in number of Covid-19 cases being registered. The state on Friday had reported the highest single-day rise of 12,876 coronavirus cases and 59 deaths.
More than a month ago, these volunteers, who were engaged as contractual workers against a monthly wage of Rs 15,000 were told to go back home after the cases dropped in the state. But with the recent spike in positive cases, the state called back the workers, Hindustan Times reported.
Last year during June-July, when the city and districts started reporting huge number of cases, the Trinamool Congress-led state government started the Covid Warrior Clubs which included mostly young people who had survived Covid-19. Stationed at the many state-run hospitals such as MR Bangur Hospital, Sambhunath Pandit Hospital, Belighata ID Hopsital and others in and around the city, these volunteers worked as attendants and helped the doctors and nurses in treating the patients. They helped with taking care of the patients, feeding them and at times even checked their vitals.
Bapan Dewan, a club member from Murshidabad district was quoted as saying, “The state-run hospital, where I was stationed along with a few others, even stopped giving us lunch. Dinner and breakfast were, however, served at Salt Lake stadium where several such warriors were staying."
A state government official reportedly said that the decision to release the Covid warriors was taken when the number of infections had reduced considerably but now as the cases have surged again, the contracts of these workers have been renewed till May 31.
Most of these workers were migrant labourers working outside the state before the pandemic. Now with their contracts again renewed till May, the workers have also been hoping for a more permanent form of work even when the number of Covid-19 cases go down, report say.