The restrictions imposed by the West Bengal Government in the wake of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak, after a delayed response to the pandemic, have now led to a shortage of essential medicines and breakdown of the supply chain in several hotspots (microspots), reported India Today. As of April 20, the Wuhan Coronavirus has infected 339 people and has claimed 12 lives in the State of West Bengal.
Restrictions in Micro-spots of West Bengal
The West Bengal Government has identified three red zone districts in the State, namely, Howrah, North 24 Parganas, and Kolkata. They will remain under complete lockdown until April 30. The red zones have further been classified as micro spots wherein tighter restrictions will be enforced. In such clusters, the movement of outsiders is restricted. Only essential goods can be delivered at specific times by authorised people with valid permission.
Lack of supplies
The extension of lockdown in microspots has added to the inconvenience of the shopkeepers who are unable to make ends meet due to limited customers and restrictions in procuring supplies from the farmers.
“We show licence to police and request them to allow the goods into the market but they do not allow. We find it difficult to import goods and other produce. If it comes to the market, we will be able to sell the products somehow”, a local shopkeeper named Ajay Sahu was quoted as saying.
Shortage of essential medicines in Haldia
The city of Haldia in West Bengal fell to the Coronavirus pandemic after a Telangana resident who worked at the Haldia dock returned to the city on March 24 following his visit to the religious congregation at the Nizamuddin Markaz. After several cases of the Chinese virus were detected in the city, several areas have now been marked as ‘microspots.’
As per the India Today report, besides urging people to co-operate with the administration during the lockdown in the State, SDPO (Haldia) Tanmoy Mukherjee conceded the acute shortage of essential medicines in the area.
“We are not getting the medicine of blood pressure. Police are very strict in this area. Sanitiser is not available. I request the government to help because my father is a senior citizen and suffering from many diseases. I work in a private company, I am not sure whether I will get my next salary or not”, a local resident Bishan Singh shared his story.
Moreover, due to limited movement within the hotspots, grocery shops are reeling under shortage of supplies. The breakage in the supply chain has added to the grievances of the local residents. The threat of the pandemic has been aggravated by ‘educated’ people flouting social distancing norms in microspots, despite the efforts made by volunteers and the police to enforce social distancing guidelines in the vulnerable areas.
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 worst 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.