India PM Narendra Modi (L) and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
India PM Narendra Modi (L) and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video conferencing meeting with the chief ministers of various states on ways at 4:00pm on Friday, to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was part of the meeting too.

After the meeting, Mamata told reporters, “Along with Mumbai and Telengana we have also asked for international flights to be stopped immediately, as Bengal is a very sensitive state as it has three international borders.”

“We have informed the Prime Minister that we be given the permission for seven laboratories and also informed that there are only 40 kits left with us.” Added Mamata. A day earlier, she held a meeting with medical representatives of all government and private hospitals to access the preparedness to deal with corona virus cases. Bengal has also asked for additional food grains, eco machines and testing kits.

“We have asked for all the things that we require, to which the Prime Minister said that they have made a note of everything but no assurances were given to us.” Said the West Bengal Chief Minister.

Banerjee also stated that the State has made a ‘state Emergency Relief Fund’ and has also decided to provide around seven crore citizens of the state with two kg free rice and pulses till September. Also she has asked government offices to start work from home for 50% of the work force.

Mamata refused to comment on Prime Minister Modi’s address to the Nation a day earlier, where he asked citizens to stay home on Sunday and stand at their balconies at 5:00pm and clap, to show solidarity with health workers, government officials, media persons and others who are on essential duty. Prime Minister Modi had also highlighted the scale of coronavirus' impact and working in tandem with State governments to combat the pandemic.

However, the Trinamool Congress(TMC) supremo hit out at the Centre, stating that they were not giving permission to the state to set up laboratories. “We have applied for clearances to set up the same at Siliguri, Burdwan, Jangalmahal and Midnapore. But the task cannot be executed as ICMR is yet to give permission.” Explained Mamata.

Studies of the countries hit by the pandemic have revealed that it exploded after a few days and the number of people infected by it grew at a very rapid pace. With 2 cases in West Bengal, Mamata is looking at all ways to curb the spread of the virus.

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Free Press Journal