Amid the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases following the return of migrant workers, the West Bengal government has decided to set up 15 more dedicated hospitals for coronavirus patients, a senior official said on Tuesday.
A directive in this regard has already been sent to the state health department, which would soon set the ball rolling for the project, he said.
At present, the state has 69 dedicated hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients. Of them, 16 are run by the government and the rest by private entities.
"This decision (of building new hospitals) has been taken keeping in mind the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state, especially in north Bengal.
"These specialised hospitals will be coming up in Coochbehar, Alipurduar, Uttar Dinajpur, Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, Birbhum, Hooghly and Howrah," the official at the state secretariat said.
So far, over five lakh migrant labourers have returned to Bengal from other parts of the country, including Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu -- which have been earmarked as COVID-19 hotspots.
"We have seen a spurt in COVID-19 cases in places, which were coronavirus-free a week ago. The rise could be attributed to the return of migrant labourers, Many of them were asymptomatic, but test results showed they have contracted the virus," the senior official said.
Cooch Behar district, which was a green zone until May 29, has reported 87 cases in a matter of three days. Similar is the scene in Bankura, Uttar Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Malda, Purulia, Jhargram, Darjeeling as well as Dakshin Dinajpur, the official added.