West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (Photo Credit: File Image)
Allaying fears over coronavirus outbreak, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday that her government is working in coordination with the Centre to combat the situation.
Addressing reporters after a meeting with ministers and senior officials, she said not a single case of coronavirus has been reported in the state and there is no need to panic.
"Not all fever is coronavirus. Not all coughing and sneezing is due to coronavirus. Many of us suffer from fever throughout the year. Though there is no reason to panic, we should remain alert since it has claimed so many lives across the world," she said.
The chief minister said 1,541 people from 19 countries have been screened on arrival in West Bengal so far, and the state government is keeping an extensive record of international travellers.
Quick response teams are being set up in the districts and the government will do whatever is needed on a war footing, she said.
"We will ensure that full-scale screening at all border points continue," Banerjee said, referring to West Bengal's proximity to the northeastern states as well the borders with Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
The state will also ensure district authorities, port, railways, civil aviation and the health department work in coordination to check any outbreak of coronavirus, the chief minister said.
She informed the reporters that the administration in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts, which are flocked by tourists, have been asked to remain alert.
"We will do whatever is needed on a war footing. The district magistrates and chief medical officers will head the drive in the districts," the chief minister said.
The state government will send a detailed advisory to all districts, municipalities, panchayats and private hospitals about ways to combat any outbreak of the disease, she said, adding that she will urge the Centre to provide the state with all necessary infrastructure.
Banerjee said the government has set up isolation wards in different state-run hospitals and warned that anyone found hoarding essential medicines and masks will face punitive action.
"I am asking the police and enforcement agencies to be more vigilant," she said.
When asked whether the state is planning to regulate entry of people from countries in the grip coronavirus, she said it is the domain of the Ministry of External Affairs.
So far, India has reported 31 confirmed cases of the infection while nearly 29,000 people have been put under surveillance.