There is a shortage of coronavirus testing kits: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on March 23, 2020

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged the Centre to make more coronavirus testing kits available even as the State enforced a five-day lockdown beginning Monday.

The call to increase the supply of kits came even as the State reported its first death due to Coronavirus.

“We have just 40 testing kits in the State. I have asked for more. The Centre is yet to accede to my request. In the video-conferencing call I had with the Prime Minister I raised the issue of non-availability of kits too,” she told representatives of different political parties who were present during an all-party meeting at the State secretariat.

The West Bengal government called for an all-party meeting to raise awareness on Coronavirus and seek suggestions for further measures to be taken in order to prevent the spread of the virus here.

Making a direct request to BJP leaders present at the meeting, Banerjee said: “Please raise the issue with the Centre and at required forums. We have raised the issue of shortage of kits at a government-to-government level. Request you all to do the same too,” she told BJP leaders present there.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister had written to the Prime Minister urging suspension of domestic flights. The Centre, incidentally, has already decided to suspend domestic passenger flights from March 25.

Covid-19 cases

The State reported its first death today after a 57-year-old Kolkata resident, who had tested Covid-19 positive, suffered a heart attack. He had been admitted at a private hospital on Friday evening.

Reacting to the death, the Chief Minister said the deceased family members’ have a history of travel to Italy. Family members of the deceased have been quarantined and are under observation.

As of now seven people (including the deceased) have tested positive for Covid-19. These include three people with immediate foreign travel history.

Published on March 23, 2020

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