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WB reports second coronavirus case as Kolkata man who returned from UK tests positive

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

West Bengal reported its second novel coronavirus case, after a 22-year-old Kolkata resident with a recent travel history to the UK tested positive, a senior state government official said on Friday.

The man, who is pursing higher studies in the United Kingdom, had returned on March 13 and was admitted to the Beliaghata ID Hospital here on Thursday with COVID-19 symptoms, he said.

The swabs of the patient were collected and the reports received from the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases confirmed that he had contracted the deadly virus, the health department official said.

"The samples were tested twice and both results were positive. We have also come to know that two of his friends, who are now in Chandigarh and Chhattisgarh, have tested positive," he added.

The official said the man, a resident of the Ballygunge area, disregarded the advice for medical tests, much like what the state's first novel coronavirus patient had reportedly done a few days ago.

"Ever since he returned to the city on March 13, the man has been to restaurants, shopping malls and other public places.... This is not expected from educated and well-informed people. It also shows the lack of sense of responsibility on the part of the man and his family members," he said.

"We are trying to ascertain the number of people who had come in contact with him," the official added.

He said health officials at the Kolkata airport had advised home isolation to the man, but he had not paid any heed to it.

"He reported to the Beliaghata ID Hospital on March 19 only after learning about the health status of his friends in Chandigarh and Chhattisgarh," the official said.

Eleven of his family members, domestic helps and drivers were sent to the quarantine unit at Rajarhat in two special ambulances, he added.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal Health Department issued a statement on Friday, asking people who recently returned from the US, the UK and other European countries to remain at home for two weeks.

"Since both the COVID-19 positive cases in West Bengal were infected abroad and carried the viral infection into Kolkata, the department appeals to all persons who have returned from abroad in the recent past, especially from the UK, USA, Europe and the Gulf countries, to necessarily confine themselves in home quarantine for 14 days," it said.

Social distancing measures were a must for the containment of COVID-19, the statement added.

An 18-year-old man, who returned from England on March 15, tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, making it the first confirmed case in West Bengal.

His mother, a senior official in the state home department, flouted the health department guidelines by not going for a medical checkup immediately after her son landed at the city airport, according to official sources.

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

First Published: Fri, March 20 2020. 15:56 IST