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West Bengal Reports First Coronavirus Death as State Shuts Down to Prevent Spread

For representation: Commuters wears protective masks in wake of the deadly coronavirus, at a railway station. (PTI Photo)

For representation: Commuters wears protective masks in wake of the deadly coronavirus, at a railway station. (PTI Photo)

The victim, a resident of Dumdum in North 24 Parganas district, had no history of travelling abroad.

Kolkata: West Bengal reported its first coronavirus death on Monday after a 57-year-old patient succumbed to the infection at a private hospital in Salt Lake here.

The victim, a resident of Dumdum in North 24 Parganas district, had no history of travelling abroad. The man was admitted to a private hospital with fever and dry cough and his symptoms intensified from March 19; a few days later he became the fourth person in the state to have tested positive for coronavirus.

The second swab test also turned a positive result for the virus. He was admitted to the ICU and breathed his last around 3.35pm on Monday after multi-organ failure.

His family members, who came in contact with him over the past week, are also in isolation in the same hospital.

"There are certain guidelines to handover bodies in such cases. It will be done soon," a senior hospital authority said.

At an all-party meeting, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee instructed the officials to direct private hospital authorities to take all the necessary steps immediately to prevent the spread of the virus from the dead body.

“Please inform the hospital authority to act immediately to handover the body/cremation as per guidelines. Ask them not to be complacent,” she told a bureaucrat present at the meeting.

As per protocol, the deceased's body will be kept in a special bag and only trained persons will be allowed to carry it to the electric cremation unit in a special vehicle. Only selected family members will be allowed during the cremation, with no one permitted to touch the body. However, the 'asthi' can be collected as a part of last rites.

On March 21, a 22-year-old woman from Habra in North 24-Parganas district, with a recent travel history to Scotland, tested positive for COVID-19.

So far there are six positive coronavirus cases in Bengal. All of them were kept in isolation at the Infectious Diseases and Beliaghata General Hospital in Kolkata.

On March 17, the state reported its first positive COVID-19 after a student who returned from UK tested positive. This sent ripples across the state administration after West Bengal Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, his wife Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee and at least 10 other staff members were sent on home quarantine when it was found that the mother (a joint secretary rank officer) of the patient met Bandyopadhyay at his office on March 16.

first published:March 23, 2020, 17:35 IST