March 16, 2020
Bengal government sets up Rs 200-cr fund to fight Coronavirus outbreak
Invoking Epidemic Disaster Act 1897 in Bengal to check the spread of COVID-19, the state government has created a special fund of Rs 200 crore to fight the outbreak.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday held a meeting at Nabanna Sabhaghar with all the concerned authorities including the Central government agencies to ensure proper precautionary measures are taken to avoid spreading of the disease.
After the meeting, Banerjee said 13 states have already invoked the Act. “Now, we are also invoking the same. We had not taken the step so far considering that simply creating awareness would serve the purpose. But those 10 persons, who are in isolation, have approached the District Magistrate of the North 24-Parganas requesting him to let them go. Keeping this in mind, the Act has been brought into effect.” However, there is nothing to panic, she added.
Giving figures of various countries including France, Iran and Italy that show a sudden jump in the number of people getting affected by the disease in the fourth and fifth weeks, Banerjee said: “We have to be very careful and continue to take precautionary measures so that the situation doesn’t start turning worse in the fourth week. As a precautionary measure, educational institutions and ICDS centres will remain closed till April 15.”
She announced that a special fund of Rs 200 crore has been created using which 2 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), 2 lakh masks, 2 lakh N95 masks, 10,000 thermal scanners and 300 mobile and static ventilation units are being ordered by the state government. It can also be used by the concerned Central agencie
The state government has ensured insurance coverage of an additional Rs 5 lakh to 10 lakh employees including health and ASHA workers, who will be working to fight against Coronavirus. She has also directed to ensure availability of hand sanitisers in all government offices. She has also urged private hospitals not to return any patient without providing necessary treatment and also take all precautionary measures for their employees as well.
Stating that the population density of the country is high, she requested the Railway authorities and the state Transport department to increase the frequency of train and bus services so that less number of people travel at a time.
Mamata Banerjee has urged religious institutions to avoid big gatherings and said there will be no reality shows and cinema halls, multiplexes and auditoriums will remain shut till March 31.
The Chief Minister has also cancelled an administrative review meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday in Bolpur.