A teenager in West Bengal, who was the son of an IAS officer in Kolkata, tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first confirmed case in West Bengal.
However, this comes after he had refused twice to get himself admitted at a hospital or turn up for testing, and had continued to come in contact with several people despite receiving suggestions from officials to get himself tested.
The teenager, who is a student at Oxford University, had returned from the UK to Kolkata and was asked to get admitted to the Beleghata Infectious Diseases Hospital by airport authorities on March 15.
However, he had allegedly refused to do so and gone home.
That evening, he received a call from his friends in London, who told him that three of his friends with whom he had attended a party earlier had tested positive for the virus.
The next morning, the teenager went to the government-run M R Bangur hospital, where he was asked again to get tested at Beleghata Infectious Diseases Hospital.
The ID hospital was informed that the boy was on his way, but he did not turn up that day for screening.
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He went about his business, and over those two days, the boy had come in contact with his mother, father, driver, and two house helps.
His mother, who was a top bureaucrat of the state government, had gone to her office after that (the same office where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was) and attended several meetings, including one on COVID-19.
Later, on Tuesday (March 17), the teenager finally got himself tested and found that one of his four swab samples contained traces of the virus.
He has been kept in isolation. Doctors reported that he is in a stable condition.
His family, the driver, and the two house helps have been quarantined.
This episode has drawn sharp criticism from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who said one cannot claim VIP status and just avoid getting tested. “You can’t claim VIP status and avoid COVID 19 tests,” Banerjee said at an event.
“I welcome whoever is coming. But I am not welcoming the disease, sorry. You can’t suddenly come from abroad and go off to shopping malls without getting tested and then 500 people get affected… Just because someone from my family is influential so I don’t test… I don’t support this,” NDTV quoted her as saying.