Kolkata: Citing limitations of quarantine facilities in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said a person would be allowed to self-isolate at his/her house even if he or she came in contact with a COVID-19 positive patient. This is subject to the individual having that much space at home to spare for self-isolation.
Banerjee made the announcement during a press conference at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ on Monday. “After having a meeting with my officials, we have taken a decision to allow a person to self-isolate at their homes even if he or she came in contact with coronavirus patients. We have our own limitations to keep people in government quarantine centres,” she said.
She said the decision was also taken keeping in mind the reluctance among people to go to the quarantine facilities. “We felt they can live in a better way in their own house and we will provide all kind of support, including tele-medicine facilities,” she said, adding that such individuals would not be forced to our quarantine centres keeping in mind the stress this is causing.
“But they have to inform the government about their status so that we can extend medical help,” the chief minister said.
Stating that her government is in favour of extending the lockdown till May 21, She said a Cabinet Committee on COVID-19 management has been formed to look after other areas of administration apart from tackling the outbreak in the state.
“Finance Minister Amit Mitra will be the chairman committee that will have Ministers Partha Chatterjee and Firhad Hakim, the chief secretary and home secretary as other members.”
Following Monday’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it seems lockdown will be extended, Banerjee said, and hence, the setting up of another panel to look after other important areas to administration.
“I have to take care of many other things and therefore, this committee will function to keep a track on other areas,” Banerjee said, adding that clarity has been sought from the Centre regarding its circular of opening shops and establishments in non-containment zones.
She said initially the her administration was not in favour of releasing the lists of green, orange and red zones (categories as per intensity of cases), but the strategy had to be changed as residents need to be made aware of the situation of their locality. This would help them in taking precautions accordingly, she added.
Banerjee said the kind of relaxations to be offered will depend on the category of the area in terms of the three zones. "We will issue proper guidelines and people will have to follow it strictly. More relaxations will be given in those areas where no fresh cases of COVID-19 were reported in the last three weeks.”
Of 57 containment areas in North 24 Parganas, 13 zones have not seen any fresh case in the last two weeks. In Kolkata, of the 227 containment areas, no COVID-19 cases were reported in 18 zones in the last two weeks, while in Howrah’s 56 containment areas, no new cases were reported in 13 zones in last two weeks.
Banerjee further said that home delivery of non-essential services would also be started. "Till now, we were allowing only home delivery of essential items. From today, non-essential items can also be delivered at home," she said.