New Delhi: Describing the coronavirus as exceptionally infective and highly lethal, an eminent Indian-American cardiologist has urged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee not to take anything for granted and take all necessary steps to prevent large-scale illness and fatalities in the state. Also Read - No Time to Play Politics’: Mamata Banerjee Slams Centre During PM-CMs Meet on COVID-19

Tennessee-based Dr Indranill Basu Ray, in a letter to Ms Banerjee, said that India, including West Bengal, may be lucky because of a different viral strain not having such a severe infection. Also Read - ‘Let’s Survive First’: Imams in West Bengal Urge Mamata Banerjee to Extend Lockdown Till May End

“I am compelled to point out the fact that as West Bengal is exceptionally crowded, the virus, if it infects a particular locality, will spread like wildfire, affecting thousands and killing quite a few,” he said. Also Read - 'Not Getting Expected Support From Bengal Govt on Special Trains For Migrants': Shah Upset With Mamata

It is essential to maintain strict social distancing and ensure that this dangerous virus could be prevented from spreading and killing as it has been doing in certain western countries, the cardiologist said in his letter.

“We cannot take anything for granted as you will regret if thousands are infected, and hundreds start dying because of a lack of strictness in preventing the spread and appropriate detection of COVID-19.

“I would therefore kindly request you to take urgent steps to realise the deadliness of this virus and the fact that it is a killing machine. Appropriate measures, including augmented testing, isolation of all contacts, and forceful enforcement of the lockdown, are mandatory to prevent the exact scenario as seen in the west,” he said, adding that the coronavirus is exceptionally infective and highly lethal.

Dr Ray, a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist who has also been a Professor of medicine and public health at multiple universities in the US and India, expressed shock that instead of doctors, a committee has been asked to provide COVID-19 death certificates.

“Hushing up such infection and not taking appropriate precautions like isolation would lead to death and destruction, which I certainly know that you would not like as the Chief Minister of my state,” he added.

In India, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased to 67,152, after a record number of 4,213 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours till Monday 8 AM, while the death toll rose by 97 to 2,206, the Union Health Ministry said in its daily update.

In West Bengal, there were at least 1,939 confirmed COVID-19 cases as on Monday. A total of 118 people have lost their lives due to the coronavirus in the state.