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Bengal reports first COVID-19 death, Mamata says man returned from Italy

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

West Bengal on Monday reported its first death due to COVID-19, after an elderly man who tested positive for the disease last week died at a city hospital here, a health official said.

The 57-year-old man, a resident of Dum Dum in North 24 Parganas, was admitted to the hospital on February 16. His situation deteriorated on February 19, following which he was put on ventilator.

A controversy has erupted over the travel history of the deceased, with his family members claiming that he had not been to any foreign country in the recent past and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stating that that the man had returned from Italy.

With the death of this city resident, the number of active coronavirus cases in Bengal stand at six.

A senior state government official said the deceased's wife, mother and mother-in-law have been placed under quarantine at a state-run hospital.

According to the official, the man's body will not be handed over to his family and last rites will be conducted by the end of the day, following requisite norms.

A spokesperson at the hospital, where he was admitted, said the 57-year-old had acute respiratory distress syndrome.

"The man was admitted on February 16 with high fever and cough. Our critical care team tried using ECMO twice on Monday but the patient could not be revived. The cause of his death is heart attack from acute respiratory distress syndrome triggered by COVID-19," he said.

In its statement, the hospital also said, "All necessary steps have been taken to ensure that the critical care team is safe. The state health department has been duly notified and all formalities will be followed as per official norms."

During an all-party meeting here, Banerjee said the man along with his family had recently returned from Italy.

"The man, who was admitted at a private hospital in Salt Lake, died this morning. Both he and his family had travelled to Italy to visit his son," she said.

Banerjee instructed police to ensure that the deceased was cremated at the earliest at an electric crematorium and all measures were taken to avoid contamination.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 22:06 IST