Saturday, November 27

Covid-19 in Kolkata: Iconic Eden Gardens turns quarantine centre for affected cops

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Eden Gardens, the first stadium to host a cricket World Cup final outside England and the venue of India’s first day-night Test, has had another first thrust on it by Covid-19: it is now going to be the first cricket stadium of its stature in the country to be converted into a quarantine centre.

A part of the sprawling space under the stadium’s galleries will be used to quarantine Kolkata Police personnel suspected to have Covid-19. This space can easily accommodate 1,000 people and the required medical infrastructure plus a makeshift kitchen, say Cricket Association of Bengal office-bearers.

Kolkata Police has been desperately hunting for a large quarantine facility after the 120 beds reserved at Dumurjola stadium were filled up. An attempt to convert the outpost at Rabindra Sarobar into a quarantine facility failed following objections from morning walkers. Lalbazar officials then turned to Eden Gardens and wrote to the CAB, seeking to convert a section of the stadium into a makeshift quarantine centre for police personnel “with immediate effect”. Work under some of the galleries started on war footing on Saturday.

The space under the galleries in E, F, G, H and J blocks will be converted into a quarantine centre because they are segregated from the rest of the stadium. “The Club House and some other blocks used for administrative work and indoor sporting activities will not be used,” CAB president Avishek Dalmiya said.

The past 48 hours have seen 14 fresh cases, including an East Division officer-in-charge and seven Kasba police station personnel. The force so far has logged 540 infections, of which around 125 are active; two have died and the rest have recovered.

“The quarantine centre details were finalised at a meeting in Lalbazar on Friday after police officers wrote to the CAB. It is our responsibility to help the administration in this hour of need,” Dalmiya said.

Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sourav Ganguly on March 25 offered the stadium’s indoor facility and the players’ dormitory to the state government for use as a temporary medical centre. “We will hand over the facility if the government asks us. We will do anything that is the need of the hour. There is absolutely no problem,” Ganguly had said.

Doctors attached with major city hospitals who are members of CAB medical committee have offered help in the quarantine facility. On Saturday, the association hony joint secretary Debabrata Das along with medical committee chairman Pradip Dey visited Eden Gardens to relocate groundsmen and other staffs to the dormitory and other makeshift staying arrangements in blocks closer to Club House and vacate the area under the galleries for the quarantine centre.

Sports facilities across the globe have pitched in by allowing use of their facilities as makeshift hospitals or isolation units. The 42-acre USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in New York has been turned into a Covid-19 hospital.

Source:Times of India

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