In a video shared by Babul Supriyo, BJP MP from Asansol, a person admitted to an isolation ward in M.R.Bangur Hospital in Tollygunge in West Bengal narrates the deplorable conditions under which suspected Coronavirus patients have been quarantined. 45 seconds into the video, the man holding the camera points towards a dead body lying unattended on a bed for over 2-3 hours.
The man alleged that no provisions had been made by the hospital authorities to dispose off the body. He then directs the viewers to another dead body that is concealed behind black curtains. The video creator then highlighted the lack of proper social distancing provisions in the ward by citing the example of two other suspected Coronavirus patients who are in close proximity to the body of the deceased.
1/2: This is a shocking video that has emerged frm alleged M.R.Bangur Hospital,Tollygunje, WB•It is shocking in every sense of the term•Since this VDO is in the Public Domain, I wud request Honble WBCM @MamataOfficial to conduct a thorough enquiry into it&release the FACTs asap pic.twitter.com/d1Ps5Jb3ar— Babul Supriyo (@SuPriyoBabul) April 20, 2020
“There are people here whose health condition is vulnerable but there are no provisions for rapid-testing in the State. As such, test results come only after a minimum of 4 to 5 days”, he said. Given that the people in the ward are crammed together with little space between two beds, the probability of everyone getting infected from the Chinese virus thus increases.
“I am here since Thursday and I have seen 5 to 6 people die in this ward. Most of them have died due to respiratory problems. In all probability, they were Coronavirus-positive patients. They died even before their test results had come. I do not know what happened to their corpses after their death”, he narrated.
Pointing towards an aged uncle dressed in white, the man said, “When grandpa came to the hospital, he was fine. But, now, even he has started coughing.”
Babul Supriyo in his tweet has demanded an inquiry into the matter and to release facts at the earliest.
The most alarming aspect in the video was that some dead bodies were kept in the same space as suspected Coronavirus patients, quarantined for observation. This, at a time when most accounts of best practices dictate that dead bodies of Coronavirus patients should be ideally cremated and not even buried. Even if it was not a pandemic being dealt with, keeping dead bodies with other patients can only be a recipe for disaster.
West Bengal sitting on a Time Bomb
The suppression of facts and fudging of data has become a major worry for authorities and health experts in West Bengal, which has now snowballed into a huge controversy between the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal government and doctors who are whistleblowing against the state government for forcing health authorities not to declare deaths from coronavirus unless certified by a state government-nominated panel.
According to a Sunday Guardian report, the manipulation of data on coronavirus cases by the Mamata Banerjee-led government, expectedly, has come under fire from officials of the Kolkata-wing of the Indian Council of Medical Research, who have blamed the TMC-led government for slowing down the mandatory tests related to the deadly virus.
The troubling part is that the state government has not even responded to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Central government’s declaration that the whole of Kolkata city and some of its districts should be declared as Coronavirus hotspots.
Mamata Banerjee Defiant
On April 20, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the formation of the Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) constituted by the Central Government for quick redressal of coronavirus crisis in states claiming that it is ‘not consistent with the spirit of federalism’.
Earlier, the Central government had constituted 6 IMCT to make on-spot assessment of the coronavirus situation and issue necessary directions to state authorities for its redressal. The IMCT would also submit its report to the central government in the larger interest of the general public