West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee video conferences with PM Modi

Kolkata | Updated on March 20, 2020

Calls for immediate ban on international flights to Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has requested the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to immediately stop all international flights from coming into the city instead of waiting till March 22.

India has already announced a ban on scheduled international commercial passenger flights landing from March 22 to 29.

According to the West Bengal Chief Minister, such a ban should come into immediate effect. “Why should we wait till March 22? The ban on international flights should come into immediate effect. There are just too many international flights coming-in and too many people are entering the city at the same time. The best way to stop spread of coronavirus is to put a check on the people coming in, from abroad,” she told reporters at the State secretariat.

The Prime Minister has apparently assured her of looking into the matter, she said.

Banerjee, along with Chief Ministers of other States like Uttar Pradesh, took part in a meeting with the PM to review preparedness. The meeting took place via video-conferencing.

Positive Covid-19 cases

The State has reported two positive cases of Covid-19 recently. Both the infected have a history of travelling to UK.

It was only after the detection of the second Covid-19 positive case on Friday that Banerjee started calling for an immediate ban on international flights.

Bengal has tested around 88 samples and 18,700 people are under home surveillance. Some 563,000 people have been screened.

The West Bengal government has appealed to people coming in from foreign countries, especially USA, UK, Europe and the Gulf, to mandatorily self quarantine themselves for 14 days.

“The Epidemic Diseases Act is in force and I repeat that if not followed wilfully, people can be forced into quarantine,” the Chief Minister said.

Requests to Centre

Banerjee claimed that the state government has made requests for supply of more testing kits and has also sought permission to set up more testing facilities to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

A request has also been made to the Centre to release additional food grains and provide monetary support to the unorganised sector against job losses.

“We have decided to provide ration to BPL families free of cost for six months,” she said. Nearly, 7.5 crore people will benefit. Earlier rice was being provided to these beneficiaries at ₹2 per kg.

Published on March 20, 2020

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