The West Bengal government on Tuesday announced a total lockdown in five cities in North Bengal, and Barasat municipality in North 24 Parganas district from Wednesday, and extended the restrictions imposed in all containment areas till July 19. Last Tuesday, the government had announced week-long curbs from 5 pm on July 9.
Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay’s order imposing the comprehensive lockdown in Jalpaiguri, Malda, Cooch Behar, Raiganj (in Uttar Dinajpur district), Siliguri (Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts), and Barasat came on a day the state recorded 1,390 new cases and 24 more deaths.
Following the sixth straight day of 1,000-plus infections, the state’s case count rose to 32,838 and active caseload jumped to 11,927, while the toll increased to 980.
Maximum fatalities, 23, were recorded in Kolkata, its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, South South 24 Parganas and Howrah, and Hooghly. The only other death occurred in Dakshin Dinajpur in the north.
The five South Bengal districts also recorded 80% of the latest infections, while North Bengal saw its caseload increase by 123. In the region, Malda has 452 active cases, followed by 347 in Darjeeling, 188 in Jalpaiguri, 135 in Uttar Dinajpur, and 179 in Dakshin Dinajpur. On July 1, the Dinajpur districts had 66 active cases each, while there were 63 patients in Jalpaiguri.
Meanwhile, state Minister of Consumer Affairs Sadhan Pandey said his wife had tested positive for Covid-19. On Saturday, the minister’s brother-in-law had succumbed to the disease.
“My wife has contracted Covid-19. She has been placed under home quarantine. My brother-in-law who was also suffering from COVID-19 died on Saturday,” the 69-year-old told PTI.
The minister, who suffers from age-related ailments, has tested negative for the disease. “Since we have a two-storey house, my wife and I have decided to stay on separate floors,” he added.
In a worrying sign for the health authorities, the recovery rate continued to drop on Tuesday, settling at 60.69 per cent despite a record 718 people getting discharged from hospitals. Till date, 19,931 people have recovered. The recovery rate has declined every day since July 5.
According to the health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, 11,102 tests were conducted in 24 hours, taking the cumulative number of samples tested to 6,38,540. The test positivity rate increased to 5.14%.
The health department said 3,375 migrant returnees and 4,388 others were still in institutional quarantine, while 26,201 remain isolated at home. There are 297 people in safe homes.
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