The teen son of an IAS officer in Kolkata, who returned from the UK on Sunday, possibly came into contact with many before testing positive for coronavirus, becoming Bengal's first case. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday lashed out at what she called "irresponsible behaviour" by those who "claim VIP status".
The student's mother, a senior bureaucrat in the state government, went to the secretariat - the same building where the Chief Minister also has her office -- and attended several meetings a day before the 18-year-old reported to hospital and tested positive. The delay is even more inexplicable given his father is a doctor. Results released late in the night found the family and their drivers to be negative.
The Bengal Home Secretary, with whom the teen's mother had an extended meeting on Monday, stayed at home on Wednesday as reports emerged of the whole family being quarantined and tested.
"You can't claim VIP status and avoid COVID 19 tests," a furious Mamata 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," she raged.
The student, studying at a prominent university in England, had no symptoms when he landed at the Kolkata airport early on Sunday and was not detected during screening. He drove back home with his driver. The household includes, besides his parents, two helps.
The same evening, the young man received a call from friends in the UK who told him that three persons with whom he had attended a party in London had tested positive for the virus.
The next morning, the student went to the government-run MR Bangur hospital, where a doctor referred him to the Infectious Diseases Hospital, the nodal centre for COVID 19 in the city.
The ID hospital was informed that the teen was on his way but he did not go that day.
His mother, who accompanied him to the hospital, went to her office on the fifth floor of the state secretariat building - Mamata Banerjee sits on the 14th floor -- and attended many meetings including one on coronavirus.
It was only on Tuesday that the teen went to the Infectious Diseases Hospital, where one of his four swab samples was found positive.
He has been kept in an isolation cabin and is reported by doctors to be in in a stable condition.
The teen is one of 18 people admitted to the ID Hospital currently.