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Coronavirus: Bengal registers fourth case, around 1,000 passengers screened at Howrah Station

KOLKATA: A 57-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday night making it the fourth confirmed case in West Bengal.

Initially, the health department officials said the man had no history of travelling in abroad but later the chairman of the local civic body said he had gone to Italy where his son studies and returned recently. His son too visited home last month.

The health department officials sent the man’s wife, son and two other family members to the quarantine centre at Rajarhat and the domestic help of the family was admitted to Beleghata ID Hospital.

According to health department sources, the man was admitted to a private healthcare unit on March 16 with a breathing problem and cough.

On April 19, swabs of the man were collected and reports received from the SSKM Hospital confirmed the man contracted the virus. Samples were sent to Pune for a second-test which also confirmed the result of the SSKM.

Around 1,000 passengers arrived at Howrah in a special train from Mumbai on Sunday morning and were screened by medical officers of the West Bengal government there in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak, sources said.

On Saturday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her anguish at thousands of passengers being brought to West Bengal from Maharashtra and other states by the Railways amid the Novel Coronavirus outbreak and called for an immediate halt of interstate trains.

The special train arrived at the New Complex of Howrah station at 7.22 am, the sources said, adding that the passengers were cordoned off by RPF and GRP personnel.

All the nearly 1,000 passengers who disembarked at the terminal station were examined by medical officers of the state government, the sources said.

Medical officers of the state also examined passengers who disembarked at Kharagpur, the only other station where it stopped in West Bengal, from the special train from Mumbai, the sources said.

Apart from the special train, passengers of all long-distance trains arriving at Howrah in the South Eastern Railway jurisdiction on Sunday are being screened for any signs of fever, cough, the sources said.

On being informed that two special trains from Maharashtra, one from Mumbai and another from Pune were headed towards Howrah, the chief minister had instructed the state chief secretary to get in touch with the Railways.

West Bengal Chief Secretary wrote to the Railway Board chairman on Saturday requesting to ensure that no trains from outside West Bengal enter the state from midnight of March 22 till March 31 owing to the situation developing due to spread of novel coronavirus.

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