Mamata Banerjee asks media to stop reporting “unverified” news on COVID-19

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday urged the media to be more careful about reporting the news on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). She alleged that the electronic media channels are creating panic among people by broadcasting “unverified” news on COVID-19.
Banerjee accused the media houses of randomly reporting deaths to have happened from COVID-19 even before the state health department is verifying such deaths officially. “Please abstain from such practices just to increase the popularity of your channel in a time like this,” Banerjee urged the news channels. “This is not a time to play with fire,” she added.
Citing the deaths which were being reported by news channels since this morning as COVID-19 fatalities, Banerjee said that three of them had co-morbidities like pneumonia or kidney ailments. Thus, those deaths cannot be said to have happened from COVID-19, she said. In some of these cases, the doctors did not get enough time to treat the patients properly, she added.
Banerjee also asked the media to focus more on the number of people who are getting cured or released from home quarantine rather than focusing on the number of deaths from COVID-19. She assured people that the mortality rate from COVID-19 is very low and following the health guidelines properly would help in curing it.
Fifty-four people in the state, who had attended the religious conference of Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi, have been sent to quarantine out of whom 40 are foreign nationals. The rest will be quarantined soon, Banerjee said.
The state government has distributed over one lakh personal protective equipment (PPE) till yesterday and has received another batch of masks, sanitisers and thermal guns which will be distributed shortly to the hospitals.
Banerjee asked people in the cities and villages to not gather in the streets for chatting or playing games as this would increase the chances of spread of COVID-19. She urged people not to flock together in markets as the coming two to three weeks are most crucial for checking the spread of COVID-19.

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