While the entire country has come together to resolve the gargantuan crisis the Wuhan Coronavirus has pushed the world into, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, compelled by her propensity to defame Modi and his government, is busy playing petty politics over the issue as serious as this one.
Taking aim at the BJP-led central government, Mamata Banerjee had asserted that her state had not received enough coronavirus testing kits from the Central government. In her statement on March 23, she had said the state health department is left with only 40 kits to test for COVID-19, at a time when the number of cases has risen to seven, and the state has registered its first coronavirus-related death.
Acting on the CM’s statement, Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar asked the Union health minister to ensure adequate facilities and test kits for the state.
But like always, this time too, she was caught in her own trap. Countering her claims Dr Harsh Vardhan in a report to Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar dated March 25, replied that as of now, Bengal has enough testing kits. 40 kits do not mean that only 40 samples can be tested, the letter from Harsh Vardhan which reached the Raj Bhawan on Thursday said.
As per a report in Swarajya, more than 3,000 samples can be tested with the 40 kits, and according to the state government’s own figures, 297 swab samples have been tested until now. Doctors say that one kit can test 70 to 100 swab samples. He said that the state has conducted less than 10 per cent of the total tests available to it.
Banerjee had also complained that Bengal does not have adequate testing facilities and that the Union government was not providing permission to empanel more testing facilities.
But this allegation too turned out to be false. Dr Harsh Vardhan’s letter dated Wednesday (March 25) said Bengal has four testing centres, the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) and Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER) in Kolkata, Midnapore Medical College and the North Bengal Medical College.
On Wednesday evening, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) gave permission to Kolkata’s Apollo Gleneagles Hospital to conduct tests. Four other private hospitals in the city are awaiting a similar nod from the ICMR.
Harsh Vardhan’s letter to Governor Dhankar said that NICED has kits to conduct 1,000 tests, IPGMER can conduct nearly 1,100 more tests, while Midnapore Medical College and North Bengal Medical College can carry out 200 tests each.
Moreover, the School of Tropical Medicine in Kolkata that had been approved by the ICMR as a testing centre incidentally, received 200 testing kits on Wednesday, the same day when Mamata had hurled accusations against the Union government.
Earlier, Mamata had said that her government has placed West Bengal under partial lockdown to fight against coronavirus, but the Centre is not helping the cause much by allowing the operation of domestic flights.
Calling the operation of flights a “huge breach of shut down and quarantine protocol”, Minister Mamata Banerjee, reportedly, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a ban on all flights coming to the state.
While Prime Minister Modi had appealed for ‘Janta Curfew‘ across India on Sunday, Mamata Banerjee had chosen the same day to distribute rice and potato in schools, triggering allegations that the Mamata Banerjee govt has decided to do this just to defy the Prime Minister’s appeal.
Earlier, the West Bengal CM had gone on to accuse the central government of ‘creating coronavirus panic’ to ‘divert attention’ from Delhi anti-Hindu riots. She even alleged that BJP killed those who died in the communal violence in the national capital. The TMC chief alleged that the BJP government at the Centre is trying to cover up the riots with coronavirus scare.