Coronavirus in India: Nearly 70% of  cases are asymptomatic; can pose a challenge if lockdown ends, says WB Chief Secretary
Photo: ANI

On Thursday, West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said that close to 70% cases in India are asymptomatic and doctors are also worried as to how to identify them.

"It is very difficult to pinpoint whether it is local transmission, or whether the person had been in touch with somebody," Sinha said, adding that if two people met and then later test positive, one after the other, it is difficult to understand who got the virus from whom.

Sinha added that this would pose a big challenge if the lockdown ended on May 4.

In recent days, the West Bengal government has faced scrutiny from the Centre for the way it has been dealing with the novel coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week a Central team had come to the State to assess the COVID-19 situation. Soon after, the Centre had accused the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government of obstructing the team's work.

Sinha had earlier written to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla stating that it was not a fact that the two Inter Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) have not been provided with any cooperation by the state government since he had two meetings with one team and also was in touch with the other.

On Thursday he revisited the topic, stating that with the technological innovations available today, "we can talk to each other over phone, they can see what is happening through satellite, direct and indirect indicators".

"Why should they come here and expect us to cooperate?" he asked.

Sinha added that the state government had always "responded to the ICMR, the Home Secretary, the Ministry of Health or any place we are getting queries from".

"Tomorrow if I say that Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has to come here physically to find out an answer from me, what is the logic of this?" he added.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had previously said that adequate relief measures from the Centre had not been made available to the State, and on Wednesday, the Department of Health & Family Welfare, West Bengal (WBDHFW) provided further details.

Taking to Twitter, the Health Department said that as of April 22, the "WBDHFW has 0 kits supplied from ICMR/NICED which can test a COVID patient as per ICMR recommendations".

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